Unemployment numbers for IT last month were stagnant, according to figures released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The outlook is much rosier for demand and salaries with specific IT careers in the years ahead.
Robert Half Technology, an IT hiring and advisory firm, released its 2013 information professional salary guide, an annual review of CIO needs and hiring expectations. The firm forecasts a “tougher” hiring environment, with more duties piled on a workforce that is increasingly split between new and recent graduates low on experience, and long-standing employees whose skill set may have not kept up with tech advances.
“Competition is expected to be particularly fierce for professionals who can support mobile, big data, cloud and virtualization initiatives,” according to report authors.
But, with raised expectations of employees and job candidates comes a big increase in hiring, according to CIOs surveyed for the report and figures Robert Half calculated from the federal employment information. For example, employment of database administrators is anticipated to grow by 31 percent between 2013 and 2020, according to the report. Other positions such as information security analysts, Web developers and network architects are expected to increase approximately 22 percent, respectively, over that same time frame. And salaries next year are expected to jump for all of the more than 70 IT positions reviewed in the report. The largest increase in salary in 2013 is expected for network and wireless engineers, at 7.8 and 7.9 percent growth, respectively, a reflection on the growing role of enterprise mobility. Other steep salary increase expectations in 2013 compared with 2012 are pegged for application developers (6.5 percent to $114,500 on the high end of the salary spectrum), senior Web and Internet commerce developers (7.3 percent to $127,250 on the high end) and database portal administrators (7.5 percent to $114,500 on the high end). Some of those and other data management positions will get more in pay in the years to come as enterprise attempt to find value in their expanding data volumes and sources, according to the report.
CIOs, the highest pay grade in the salary review, are projected to get a bump of 4.1 percent in 2013 salary compared with this year, putting them in the range of $145,500 to $234,750. Even the lowest paying position in the report, computer operator, is anticipated to grow by 1.6 percent in pay in 2013 compared with the current year, bringing it to a range of $32,750 to $45,250.
Variances on pay didn’t stray too far from national costs of living. On average, hires for all positions could expect to be paid more in U.S. locales such as San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and surrounding areas, New York City and Long Island, Boston and Stamford, Conn., according to the report. On the low end of salary averages were Omaha, El Paso, Youngstown, Ohio, and Pueblo, Colo.
And the firm’s advice for keeping tech talent isn’t revelatory, but it’s worth the emphasis: competitive pay, better benefits and opportunity for talent development.
“Talented candidates with high-demand skills may receive multiple job offers – and most will be very selective when choosing an opportunity,” report authors wrote.
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its review of U.S. employment figures from September 2012. Unemployment in the information sector hit 205,000 last month, or 7.3 percent, a slight dip compared with unemployment figures from that same month in 2011. Professional and business services, another area that covers some data industry professionals, saw reductions from September 2011, with unemployment of 1.2 million, or 8.2 percent in September 2012. These new figures are not seasonally adjusted and don’t factor in those “discouraged” workers in these two areas who have stopped looking for jobs. The overall U.S. unemployment rate hit a three-year low of 7.8 percent in September 2012, according to the BLS.
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