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  • A high demand for IT professionals will drive continued staffing expansions at U.S. companies this year, according to a recent survey from CareerBuilder. Seeking to land the best available talent, organizations are forecast to increase compensation for existing employees, as well as to offer higher starting salaries for new ones. Technology remains one of the most aggressively sought skill sets—second only to customer service. Meanwhile, to address lingering talent shortages, employers will recruit more temp and contract professionals and groom them for permanent positions. They'll also increase their investment in training lower-tier workers in order to position them for more demanding roles. In other words, the job market is red hot, and IT pros should expect to benefit at the negotiating table. "On average, the U.S. has added 200,000 jobs each month over the last two years, and we expect 2016 to produce similar results, if not better," said Matt Ferguson, CEO of CareerBuilder and co-author of The Talent Equation. "The market is also showing signs of broader wage pressure. While employers have been more willing to pay a premium for high-skill labor, they now have to pay more competitive wages for entry-level positions. Workers are gaining leverage." Nearly 2,340 U.S. hiring and HR managers took part in the research.

  • IT professionals who are part of an on-call team can expect to spend a week at a time working that shift, and an increasing number of those employees are experiencing fatigue as a result, according to a survey from VictorOps. The resulting "State of On-Call" report indicates that far too many tech issues turn out to be false alarms. And when there is a real problem, it often requires more than one person to resolve it. Organizations are providing some relief by adding non-operations professionals to the on-call team, including developers and DevOps staffers. "The clear signal over the last year has been the death of operations as the lone protectors of highly technical infrastructures and systems," according to the report. "More and more organizations are placing developers on the front line of rapid response and resolution of technical problems. Alerting 'someone' to a problem is no longer acceptable, and we are seeing this in many companies as they dismantle their Network Operations Centers (NOCs) in favor of routing specific system problems to the engineers [who] built the part of the system having issues. … Technology is changing fast and progressive companies are changing faster." In addition to incorporating more diverse skill sets into the on-call team, IT departments are trying to improve their post-mortem processes, and we've included some findings about that here. More than 500 IT professionals took part in the research.

  • The huge demand for talented IT professionals will grow even more intense this year, according to a recent survey from Dice. A clear majority of hiring professionals said they plan to increase their recruitment of tech employees in 2016, and most organizations in the survey are planning to boost IT headcount by 11 percent or more, findings reveal. Employers are feeling the pressure because it's taking longer to fill open positions, and they're seeing a notable rise in counteroffers as well. This means companies need to boost the "curb appeal" of their packages. With this in mind, many are more likely to offer additional perks, sign-on bonuses and other goodies to land quality hires. "The environment for a talent crisis in tech has been growing over the past few years and, as the level of interest in technology professionals rises, it doesn't appear the challenging recruitment market will lighten any time soon," said Bob Melk, president of Dice. "Companies today are looking for new and innovative ways to streamline their hiring processes and attract top talent. Sourcing, in particular, continues to serve as a top strategic recruiting initiative, as companies are thinking more long term and are building out an on-demand talent pipeline rather than focusing on one-off hires." Nearly 400 HR managers, recruiters, consultants and staffing company representatives who primarily seek tech professionals took part in the research.

  • A significant share of CIOs in cities throughout the United States said they expect to continue expanding their IT department staffing in 2016, according to a recent survey from Robert Half Technology. The resulting "IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report" indicates that fewer CIOs plan to hire only for vacant tech positions (keeping staffing size as is) in the first half of 2016, when compared with six months ago. Meanwhile, only 2 percent plan to reduce the number of IT department employees. As for the most highly sought skills? Desktop support, database administration and network administration top the list. "Organizations have spent the past few years building core technology teams that can keep pace with rapid marketplace changes, resulting in an industry that's near full employment," said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Hiring remains steady, and there is particularly strong demand for staff and consultants to complete short-term projects, implementations and upgrades." As an added bonus, Robert Half Technology has come up with the following ranking of top cities for IT staffing growth, and we've included those here. (You may be surprised to discover that the No. 1 metro area isn't San Francisco, San Jose, New York, Washington, Boston, Austin or other traditional tech meccas.) More than 2,500 U.S. CIOs took part in the research.

  • There are four key skills that signal a change in the project management profession and help practitioners thrive in this rapidly growing field—which pays well.

  • To be considered a great place to work, technology companies understand that they need to provide more than good food, happy hours, free massages and Foosball tables. They must proactively build a corporate culture that embraces collaboration, professional growth, transparency and innovation. At least that's how countless employees have described the following employers, which rank in the top 10 among IT industry companies in Glassdoor's most recent annual "Employees' Choice Awards 2016." The organizations here were selected based on their workers' ratings with respect to senior leadership and management, career opportunities, compensation and benefits, culture and values, and work-life balance. A total of 21 tech companies made the top 50 list—more than any other industry. It may come as a surprise that the top winner here isn't Google, Facebook or any of the other "usual suspects" that end up as No. 1 on these types of rankings. (Although both of these high-profile players did make the top 10.) That demonstrates that, when it comes to your employees, you don't need to be the biggest to be the best, but you do have to provide what employees need to excel at their jobs and advance in their careers. The awards "recognize employers where people love to work solely based on the authentic voice of those who really know a company best—the employees," said Robert Hohman, Glassdoor CEO and co-founder."For anyone hoping to find a job and company they love, these companies stand tallest for providing an outstanding work environment and company culture."

  • While automation and artificial intelligence (AI) sometimes cause a backlash because of the fear that they will replace IT workers, the vast majority of tech professionals express favorable sentiments about these technologies, according to a recent survey from arago. Most of the tech employees said automation frees up their time to focus on more impact-making projects, such as technology modernization and the planning and strategizing of future IT acquisitions. Organizations are already automating functions related to custom script generation and solution deployment, and this helps tech teams pursue more challenging initiatives that enhance intellectual stimulation and other engagement drivers. In other words, only a small minority of the survey respondents view AI and automation as employment threats. "IT pros know that smart automation technology frees up their time, reduces the need for menial tasks, and allows them to concentrate on innovative endeavors that are much more strategic to their employers and their own future," said Christian Boos, CEO for arago. "That [contests] the common narrative stating that IT pros find smart automation a threat to their jobs, and that they are afraid of a machine takeover. … The reality is quite the opposite." Nearly 195 IT pros took part in the research, which was conducted by Spiceworks.

  • IT is a stressful industry, but taking simple steps to reduce stress in the workplace can help IT pros do their best work, stay healthy and love their job.