time to look at the state of IT hiring for the first half of the year
to try and build an accurate hiring plan for the remainder of 2015.
Each quarter Foote Partners compiles data from more than 2,705
employers, in both the public and private sectors, consisting of over
203,000 U.S. and Canadian IT professionals to create its "IT Skills and
Certifications Pay Index (ITSCPI)." The report tracks 202 jobs and
associated pay premiums for over 774 certified and noncertified IT
skills. This data gives IT leaders an opportunity to see salary
benchmarks levels for tech workers allowing them to make better
decisions when hiring and evaluating tech talent.
Unemployment in the tech sector in March was at 2.0 percent, the
lowest since 2008, increasing competition for talent and salaries in an
already challenging marketplace. According to Foote Partner data, there
is instability in the pay and demand for IT skills, both certified and
noncertified, and this is creating stiff competition for top tech
talent. "What continues to surprise Foote Partners' analysts is the
persistently high volatility in pay and demand for IT skills. High
volatility signals intense competition in the market place with
specialized skills and that will likely not change in the future,"
writes Foote Partners in its ITSCPI report.
Contingent Model Morphing as Services Market Matures
"Full-time job creation has picked up in the past year as human
capital architecture, aka. 'people architecture,' discipline and
practices have been adopted and employers have made strategic decisions
to reduce the size of their contingent workforces," says Foote.
According to Foote, the contingent model is morphing to a full-time
model but that model will likely morph to a place where consultants are
used more as end-to-end solutions as opposed to being used on one-off
projects as organizations are more comfortable with the maturing
Businesses, now feeling more familiar and comfortable with the
services model, will continue to move to this way to better facilitate
agility, innovation and cost savings. says Foote. "More services, Cloud,
IaaS, Paas and SaaS are being consumed by employers as a strategy for
controlling the skills gap while also allowing employers to aggressively
transform their IT workforce to emphasize flexibility and agility."
IT Sills Gap Remains
You've been hearing about the IT skills gap for a while now and it's
no surprise, according to Foote. There will always be skills gaps as
labor and skills traditionally lag behind innovation and new technology
by 6-12 months. There are definite areas within IT currently feeling
that gap like cloud services for example.
"There simply aren't enough people to manage in this fairly new
world where we've really adopted en masse Paas, Saas and Iaas," says
Foote. "The skills gap is shifting to different classes of workers -
architects; analysts; program, project and vendor relationship managers;
software engineers; and a variety of technical specialization," says
IT Needs Better Workforce Plans
The pace of change happens too quickly for employers to keep up, and
they aren't using the lessons learned elsewhere, Foote says.
"Architecture principles and practices have been successfully applied to
technology planning and acquisition for decades, with budgets and
execution generally tied to accurate, well-thought-out forecasts and
analysis including integration strategies with legacy systems. But
employers have not applied the same practices to analyzing, developing,
and/or acquiring skills and talent. This has widened the skills gaps in
recent years and created demand for a contingent workforce of
consultants, contractors and other temporary workers."
Hot IT Skills Areas
According to Foote, no conversation about the current hot skills in
IT is complete if you don't mention the cloud, and recent data
highlights that fact.
- 59 cloud-related
certifications and noncertified skills gained 1.3 percent in value in
2014 and 7.8 percent in the last two years.
- In 2015, they've done
even better: 63 certified and noncertified cloud related skills rose
1.3 percent in just three months (compared to 1.3 percent for all of
- 33 noncertified cloud skills alone gained 3 percent for the 1st quarter 2015.
"Big data capabilities are just too critical for staying
competitive. They've expanded in popularity from a few industries to
nearly every industry and market," says Foote.
The data scientist role is one area that deserves special attention.
Foote says employers need to understand that there are different kinds
of data scientists. "There are four distinct types of DS's and only one
type is the true earth mover that companies are craving and can't find.
The other three are readily available and able to make big impacts on
"The shortage of data scientists is a bit of a fallacy. Analysts
that work with Hadoop or other big data technologies spend a significant
amount of time NOT requiring any knowledge of advanced quantitative
methods. In fact, even those who employ advanced quantitative techniques
spend from 50-80 percent of their time gathering, cleansing and
preparing data --- work for which there is plenty of available talent,"
Is this the year that businesses get serious about security? It's
been a long time coming but 2015 will be a year when discretionary
spending for security -- that is, everything not related to compliance
spending -- will start to reflect the fact that all these high profile
hacks have pushed corporate boards and senior business executives to
finally admit that for decades they have not been adequately staffing
information security departments.
The market values for skills in security and cybersecurity have been
on a steady upward path for the last two years, increasing 8 percent on
average, and that will likely continue. Strong performers in
the first quarter 2015 edition are penetration testing, cybersecurity,
secure software development, computer forensics and management
certifications, with auditing certificates also strong through the past
Interestingly, low-end foundation certifications have been
performing well, perhaps an indication that more workers are refocusing
their careers on infosec longer term.
Employers from all industries are searching for cybersecurity
talent. However, moving technology targets, a lack of consistency in job
titles and the fact that this is a relatively new field is making it
difficult to source this talent. There is ample evidence of a global gap
in cybersecurity skills. It is a relatively new discipline and there
are few available experts in the marketplace for talent. But with a lack
of consistency in jobs and career paths for security professionals we
can expect that organizations will experience difficulties in attracting
and retaining cybersecurity talent in the foreseeable future.
IoT and Sensors
The Internet of Things holds promise for many industries and as more
connected devices and sensors are added to an organization's ecosystem,
security becomes even more important. IoT will roll out only insofar as
companies and people are willing to accept the level of security
protections that are in place at the time of purchase consideration. So
security jobs and skills will be boosted by IoT interest and demand.
Many industries are now looking at how these connected devices can
give their organization a competitive edge. Foote points to the retail
industry as an example of where the industry is looking to tap into
sensor-generated data from wearable technology to provide targeted
products and services to customers. As businesses look to IoT
technologies to provide more insight, there is an ever-increasing demand
for analysts capable of transforming IoT data into actionable business
In the world of technology, the one constant is that everything
keeps morphing - products, services, skills and job roles. That's not
going to change. What should change is how you approach filling the need
for the right people with the right mix of skills at the right time.
The bottom-line is that organizations that want to be successful need to
be forward-thinking and better align their human capital needs to their