But the news isn’t all bad. Professionals in the technology industry — one of the few fields expected to take a decidedly lesser hit in the coming fiscal year — can expect modest salary increases. At least according to the 2008 IT Salary Guide, which states that the average IT professional will see a 5.3% increase in their salary over last year. Those employed in positions which are in higher demand, including specialists in .Net, Java, and financial services, can expect to enjoy a 7% wage increase.
Why the projected upswing for tech professionals? In a word: demand. It’s up, especially for talented IT professionals who have not seen this kind of demand in over five years.
Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology, affirms that, ''Many companies are raising base compensation for new hires and offering additional perks, including signing bonuses and equity incentives, to recruit and retain top candidates.''
Of course, not everyone will see a raise in 2008, but if you’re looking for a better paying job, you should know where to look within the industry. Robert Half reports that technology executives in the business service sector report being the most likely to hire new professionals in the first three months of the year. One-fifth of CIOs anticipate adding IT personnel while only 2% project staff cuts, resulting in an overall increase of 18%.
Though most industries are expecting to step back from hiring to new positions in 2008, there will be notable increases in hiring in the finance, insurance, real estate, transportation, services, and retail.
There are certain caveats to the mixed picture painted by the survey. One, salaries are on the rise because professional skills are harder to find. Why? Because many college students are looking outside the tech industry, likely scared off by its tenuous nature and the recent trend in outsourcing to countries like South Korea and India. According to a recent study by UCLA, freshmen enrollment of computer science majors fell by a massive 70% between 2000 and 2005, a figure which should give many within the industry great pause. Some companies are already taking note and working to develop new outreach programs with the intent of driving the number of recruits back up to levels at or near what they were in the late 1990s.
Their efforts will be needed: the Bureau of Labor projects that one million new IT jobs will be created in the industry between 2004 and 2014. The industry is expanding at a steady rate, and when tech retirees are factored in, the total number of open positions is expected to hit 1.3 million.
Last year, Robert Half surveyed 1,400 CIOs, asking, ''Which technical skills are most in demand within your organization?'' Their answers were as follows:
- Windows administration - 73%
- Network administration - 70%
- Database management - 60%
- Firewall administration - 55%
- Wireless network management - 52%
- Business intelligence - 34%
- ERP implementation - 22%
- Microsoft .NET development - 22%
- CRM implementation - 18%
- Linux administration - 18%
- Unix administration - 18%
- XML development -18%
- Chief Technology Officer: $107,250 – $165,250
- Applications Development: Developer/Programmer: $57,500 – $96,750
- Business Systems Analyst: $64.250 – $91,750
- Database Manager: $88,750 – $122,750
- Senior Web Developer: $76,250 – $108,250
- Networking/Telecommunications: Network Engineer: $67, 250 – $93,500
- Project Manager: $76,500 – $111,500
- Systems Security Administrator: $73,500 – $103,500
- Help Desk Manager: $65,250 – $92,000
Overall, industry experts expect the largest number of new hires to occur in network and desktop security, social media, wireless, business intelligence, database management, and Web 2.0.