Pay Premiums Trend Downward

Just as this recession has taught us that there’s no such thing as houses that increase in value forever, it’s educating those of us who believed that IT pay premiums would continue rising into the stratosphere. The latest results in the IT Skills and Certification Pay Index (ITSCPI) released by Foote Partners are bringing back expectations to solid earth.

The market value for non-certified IT skills dipped in the last three months of 2008 by 0.5 percent after four years of steady gains. The slide in premiums paid for IT certifications dropped 1 percent in the last quarter of 2008 and 5 percent for the year

Still, there do seem to be glimmers of hope for certain specializations as CIOs dial in their operations to increase efficiency and productivity. As David Foote, ITCPI author and principal at Foote Partners, puts it, certain skills are “counter-trending” in the face of across-the-board decreases. These include skills in architecture, process management, security and messaging and communications.

Foote says it’s no surprise that skills pay premiums for both non-certified and certified skills categories took a dip this year, particularly in the three- to six-month snapshots offered in the report.

“Across all companies, we’re seeing wacky things happening and you know there is more to come,” he says.

And no IT worker is an island. Every layoff diminishes other workers, because they’re all involved in technology. The long and short of it is that the market is flooding with plenty of talent right now as layoff notices from tech firms such as Microsoft, Cisco and Novell come fast and furious, not to mention large-scale enterprise layoffs that are sure to cut deep into IT departments. The most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports found that more than half-a-million Americans lost their jobs last month, pushing unemployment rates up to 7.6 percent.

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