There’s More IT Jobs, But Stingy Salaries Cause Unrest
January 24, 2011 Dan Burger
You probably think you have a better chance of catching a cold than catching a break in the IBM i job market. Well, that probably depends on how recently you’ve had a cold or job. If you haven’t had a cold in a while, you’re due. If you haven’t had a job in a while, your odds are getting better there, too. At least that’s what the latest employment survey results from CareerBuilder indicate.
Compared to a chilly 2010, companies will be warming up to the idea of adding full-time, permanent employees during 2011. That prediction covers all professions, but information technology professionals rank second on the list of most highly sought after employees.
“More than half of employers reported they are in a better financial position today than they were one year ago,” said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder, in a written statement. “2011 will usher in a healthier employment picture as business leaders grow more confident in the economy. Our survey indicates more jobs will be added in 2011 than 2010, but job creation will remain gradual. The year will be characterized by steady, measured gains across various industries.”
Harris Interactive conducted the survey for CareerBuilder from November 15 to December 2, 2010. It included the responses of more than 2,400 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes. Similar to the 2010 forecast, more employers in the West (26 percent) plan to recruit employees in 2011 than other regions. The outlook in the rest of the country was only slightly diminished, with 24 percent of companies in the Northeast and 23 percent in the Midwest and South expecting to actively search for new talent.
Naturally, there will be companies that downsize, but the trend there is not as harsh as in the past two years; 8 percent of employers in the South expect to decrease headcount followed by 7 percent in the Northeast, Midwest, and West.
If you navigate the employment possibilities based on company size, you’ll find bigger means better. The survey shows 30 percent of firms with more than 250 employees plan to increase full-time, permanent headcount in 2011, followed by 27 percent of employers with 51 to 250 employees. Job opportunities at companies with 50 or less employees are expected to be a lot harder to find, with only 14 percent of small businesses reporting they are ready to hire.
For those of you who are disenchanted with IT and are contemplating a career switch, hiring sales personnel was the top priority among the survey responders. It just barely beat out IT for the most sought after employees. Other talents that are being most frequently sought include customer service, engineering, technology, administrative, business development, marketing, research and development, and accounting and finance.
A Compensation Sensation?
All work and no pay make Jack (and Jill) somewhat of a rented mule. Workloads have gotten heavier and hours on the job have gotten longer. You’ve noticed and you know your employer has noticed. But you probably think there’s little or no concern beyond your own.
The CareerBuilder survey shows there is some concern, with 41 percent of employers worrying that their best talent will leave their jobs because the weight of escalating responsibilities has been taken on without financial reward. And thus 61 percent of the survey responders said they will increase compensation for their existing staff in 2011. That’s a bump from the 57 percent that claimed they would increase compensation in 2010.
That’s the good news. Here’s the bad. The average raise will likely be 3 percent or less. Only 10 percent expect the average pay increase will be 5 percent or more. Some 31 percent of companies are willing to provide higher initial job offers to job candidates this year. That’s up from 29 percent last year. While most increases will likely fall within the same 1 to 3 percent range, 8 percent of employers expect to increase initial job offers by 5 percent or more.
It sounds like we should expect a lot of top IT talent to be shopping themselves around. And a few companies will be in a position to hire the best talent on the market.
Dice, another big name in the technology career business, also has some updated information on the topics of jobs and compensation. Nearly half of the more than 19,000 people who responded to a survey between August 31 and November 15, 2010, reported getting a salary increase last year. On average, those raises were less than 1 percent. The increase in salary was practically the same as recorded in 2009, but those who received raises jumped 13 percentage points.
“Companies can no longer get away with paltry salary increases for their technology staffs based on the demand we are seeing for talent,” said Tom Silver, senior vice president of North America at Dice. “The moderate increases in satisfaction levels indicate that tech professionals’ concerns are being heard by some companies, but certainly not all. Retention is the key to driving additional contributions to the business from technology staffs. Employers that are reluctant to increase compensation or step�]up retention efforts will likely pay for their unsatisfactory ways.”
According to the Dice survey, wages for entry level techies (less than two years job experience) have slipped for the second year in a row and are now 6 percent less than the survey amount in 2008.
The clear evidence that’s come to light from CareerBuilder and Dice is that larger companies (5,000 employees or more) are where the jobs and the money can be found. Meanwhile the small and midsize companies that have piled the work on their IT departments without compensation will find their best employees jumping to those better paying jobs. Statistics compiled by Dice show average earnings at the large companies to be a bit over the $88,000 per year mark, while the average salaries at the smallest companies were just shy of $70,000.
It’s also evident that continuing to add expertise and skills also pays off in annual wages that top the $100,000 milestone. Among the most popular skills that can add to your earning capability are Oracle database and application server, J2EE and Java, the C languages, project management, and SQL.