IT Staffing Is On the Way Up, but Finding the Right People Is a Downer

Although a majority of enterprises plan to boost IT staffing this year, it will be difficult for them to find the talent they are looking for. The most difficult-to-hire positions for IT organizations include project manager, Web applications programmer, security analyst, database administrator and network engineer.

That’s according to the “2005 IT Market Compensation” study by Gartner’s Executive Program's (EXP) unit.

The skills IT organizations report having the greatest difficulty recruiting are PeopleSoft, J2EE Microsoft.Net, Java, Oracle, Visual C#.Net, SAP, XML and XML Web Services, Gartner says.

Overall, 66 percent of organizations surveyed by Gartner EXP project some level of increase in IT staffing. This includes full-time employees and contractors.

Enterprises should expect retaining IT staff will be more difficult, says Lily Mok, senior consultant with Gartner EXP. Total IT voluntary turnover was higher in the 2005 survey than last year, which suggests that as the IT employment market improves further, IT professionals will consider leaving their current jobs for better opportunities, Mok says.

Gartner EXP says the factors that attract IT professionals to join a company may not be the same as those that keep them satisfied on the job. According to the survey, IT professionals are attracted to companies by company reputation, followed by pay and work environment. However, as employees progress through their career lifecycle, their needs and values change. That will require enterprises to personalize their HR programs to attract and retain employees and minimize turnover.

"Employees are considered the most critical asset and investment that set leading companies apart from competitors," Mok says. "To inspire loyalty and boost productivity, many companies now offer a total rewards package that is customized to the specific needs of the company. This approach also helps a company achieve the right demographic profile for its workforce."

The survey shows that the average budgeted base salary increase for IT employees in the 2005 fiscal year is 3.5 percent, 0.3 percent higher than in the 2004 fiscal year. Companies also appear to have increased the variable pay portion of their reward package. Improved business results also result in bigger bonuses.

The findings in EXP's "2005 IT Market Compensation Study" are based on research compiled from survey data submitted by 160 organizations as of March 1, 2005. The study includes detailed compensation data for 48,586 IT employees within the United States.

For more information, visit Gartner.