Demand for IT Admins Hits Five Year High

It’s no secret to CIOs that there’s a tech talent crunch, and experts predict it’s only going to get worse. According to a survey of CIOs by Robert Half Technology, demand for IT professionals is the highest it’s been in at least five years.

Based on responses from more than 1,400 CIOs at U.S. companies with more than 100 employees, the technical skills in greatest demand are:

  1. Windows administration
  2. Network administration
  3. Database management
  4. Firewall administration
  5. Wireless network management

A combination of factors is causing the talent crunch, the recruitment firm reported. For one thing, large numbers of baby boomers are either retiring or preparing to retire, placing pressure on companies to boost recruitment plans to replace key staff retiring over the next 5 to 10 years.

Another reason is that fewer college students are choosing to major in computer science, engineering, and mathematics. For example, the number of income freshmen who planned to major in computer science fell by 70 percent between 2000 and 2005, according to the University of California Los Angeles’ Higher Education Research Institute.

Finally, industry-wide growth is pushing demand for greater numbers of skilled IT workers in the labor force. Nearly 1 million IT jobs will be created by 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates.

According to another report released last week by the recruitment firm, the Robert Half Technology 2008 Salary Guide, the biggest salary gains among IT professionals next year will be for lead application developers who manage development teams and projects. Their base compensation is expected to rise next year 7.6 percent, from $80,250 to $108,000 annually. That’s a significant premium over the average increase projected for all IT professionals of 5.3 percent in 2008.

Other IT positions that will experience fatter than average increases are applications architects, 7.5 percent; messaging administrators, 7.1 percent; and data modelers, 7 percent.

The industries forecasting especially strong demand for IT professionals next year include financial services, health care, and commercial construction.

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