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Midyear jobs outlook: What to know about IT hiring, skills, benefits

Ann Bednarz | July 23, 2014
IT staffing firms and employment researchers released a flurry of data as the first half of the year came to a close. The bottom line? The second half of 2014 is looking good for job-hunting IT pros, particularly if they possess coveted skills. IT employment numbers are rising, employers are forging ahead with hiring plans, and CIOs are confident about hiring budgets. Here come the numbers.

"The hiring is primarily concentrated in larger organizations, as it has been," said Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics. "But the rise in the median is a good sign that the recovery is broadening its base to include more midsize companies and additional sectors."

In terms of the overall employee population, IT staff headcount will rise 1%, a gain which Computer Economics describes as "significant movement for an indicator that has remained flat since 2007." The financial services sector will have the highest rise in IT staff headcount at 5%, followed by healthcare providers at 3.9%.

IT pay: Salaries inch up

On the salary front, the news is positive — though only marginally. Between June 2013 and June 2014, the total mean compensation for all IT professionals increased 0.33% from $79,112 to $79,376, according to Janco Associates. "This puts overall compensation back at the levels they were at in January 2008 and 2007," the firm states. In midsize enterprises, the mean total compensation increased from $75,727 to $76,241, and in large enterprises, median compensation rose from $82,498 to $82,511.

Finding talent: Challenging

Among the CIOs polled by RHT, 61% said it's somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals. The areas where it's hardest to find skilled talent are applications development (cited by 17%), networking (17%) and security (12%). When asked which skills sets are in greatest demand within their IT departments, CIOs called out network administration (57%), database management (52%), and desktop support (52%).

Compensation: Companies pressured to up the ante

A healthier hiring environment is putting upward pressure on compensation, according to Dice's semi-annual hiring survey. Among 700 respondents, 59% said some positions are going unfilled because of salary guidelines for the job. Tech pros appear to be waiting for the right position and the right pay: 32% of hiring managers and recruiters said more tech candidates are rejecting offers, as compared to six months ago; and 61% said candidates are asking for more money, as compared to six months ago, Dice reports.

In a separate survey sponsored by CareerBuilder, companies appear to understand they're going to have to adjust their salary and skills expectations. Just 20% of IT employers believe they're offering "extremely or very" competitive pay; 44% said they would consider increasing compensation for tough-to-fill roles; and 53% have open positions for which they can't find qualified candidates, according to the CareerBuilder data.

Likewise, CultureFit Technology Staffing found gaps between the salaries and benefits offered and what IT candidates consider to be acceptable. "Based on the competitive hiring situation, companies should plan to increase compensation budgets between 10% and 15% year over year until the gap between open jobs and available talent begins to narrow," said Adam Kooperman, president of CultureFit, in the firm's report.

 

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