Gartner's grim IT hiring outlook

Gartner's grim IT hiring outlook

Summary: Gartner released its 2008 IT market compensation study this week and the news was anything but upbeat. A decline in IT hiring is anticipated, and according to one analyst, pure tech workers are going to have the hardest time.


IT professionals are seeing signs like this.
Gartner released its 2008 IT market compensation study this week and the news was anything but upbeat. Projecting that IT organizations would be cautious about their 2008 and 2009 hiring plans due to IT budget cuts, a decline in IT hiring is anticipated.

Though nearly 58 percent of U.S.-based IT organizations projected an increase in their IT staff levels, including full-time employees and contractors, this was a notable drop from the 66 percent who reported the same in the 2007 study. Furthermore, the percentage of organizations that projected that they'd be increasing their headcount by more than 10 percent in the coming year slipped more than three percentage points from the year prior.

So what will this mean if you were hoping to land a new gig or full-time job in the coming year? Diane Berry, managing vice president for Gartner's CIO workforce group and a coauthor on of the study, says that the best way for IT professionals to improve their marketability to pick up as much business experience and competence as possible.

"The HR leaders and CIOs I talk to are having a hard time finding the talent that they need," Berry explained. "They're looking for some people with business expertise or competence, who are keeping their skills relevant. They're hungry for good talent, and it would be best to learn as much of the business as you can. It increases your value tenfold."

What this means for IT workers that would like to stay entrenched in technology is less clear.

"You're going to need to have that business expertise, so if I was an 18-year old going into college I would be marrying my CS degree with a business degree," said Berry.

Do you agree? Do you think pure tech players are going to have a rougher time in the coming year than those that hone their business skills?

Topics: CXO, IT Priorities, IT Employment

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Fire Management

    The biggest problem in IT is the bloated management salaries. I would get rid of all CIOs. There's no Open Source or Internet "CIO". There should only be project managers. If you're not working on a project, then hit the road. I could cut up management salaries and hire lots of creative talented people. Get out the guillotine.
    • No management

      so we let 50 pm's dictate the strategy for meeting the business' goals? Kinda like letting the sailors run the ship? Without a leader, you become inefficient and end up with power struggles. It's a shame you haven't had the joy of working for a competent leader.
  • RE: The recipe for success

    I used to spend my life pleasing others. Then I started finding out what was fun and went after it the best I could.

    Most importantly, don't be desperate since your dreams start looking silly.

    For example, I used to be a contractor with IBM but left since folks had to build Lotus Notes applications and "yet another" system image for Linux every day;

    I wanted exciting new opportunities each day instead so I changed my internal tape to repeat: "Each day brings you an opportunity to appreciate the diversity around you; jam with it; become one!

    Anyway, knowing that one is free and that fun and money go together-- at a young age, is important! That sort of attitude will get you motivated to know more about math, art, science, language, business, computers, engineering and then the creative boundries will start falling!
  • RE: Gartner's grim IT hiring outlook

    CIOs need to scale back excessive and unreasonable hiring demands for IT workers because rigidly defined hiring requirements screen out the best qualified job applicants who would succeed on the job.

    The myth of some IT CIOs being unable to find "qualified" IT workers is a sham and unethical disguise for their often trying to hire younger or foreign workers at lower wages.

    Apparently some CIOs have shifted their hiring practices to "just in time" IT workers who are expected to pick up the job, run with the project, and score a touchdown for the IT department on a moments notice. IT workers should be treated as people and not as disposable assets who are bought, sold, or traded by companies when a project ends.

    The "just in time" IT worker is a deceptive dream for IT senior managers and a nightmare for IT workers because it often causes unneeded stress that affects employee morale. Unrealistic management expectations that are not adequately discussed with IT staff cause disruptive job turnover and dissention within the IT department.

    The real problems are that the best IT workers for these IT projects are often screened out based on current certifications or education requirements with little consideration given by hiring managers how the job applicant would actually perform on the job. In todays job market, IT hiring seems to be more based on low cost wages rather than ability to complete the job according to the project plan. IT departments seem to be more comfortable hiring IT staff based on certs rather than how IT workers can do the job.

    These factors all contribute to reasons why age discrimination is rampant in the IT industry. Perhaps these reasons are why the saying, "you never see any older people in IT departments" applies now more than ever as companies increasingly ignore older workers for IT hiring.
  • Yes I would agree - my

    degree is a BBA with a Computer Information Systems enphasis. And it has been wonderful. I got the technology training and now the experience, but 75% of my classes were business, Account, Finance, Eco, Marketing etc. It was a new program 25 years ago and has been the best choice I have ever made.
  • No management getting downsourced

    The real message here is that management won't export their jobs. That is the safest place to be. They do view techies as interchangeable and disposable, so India and China among many others are attractive to them. Companies are starting to realize the costs of doing outsourcing that were not quantifiable when they played with their spreadsheets.

    Foreign IT workers need certifications to get jobs there. It only proves they can cram for tests. Turnover is so fast in India that you can't count on working with one of the good guys very long. Again, don't count on a remote guy who you've taught your network, systems, business processes, software, key players etc. to will last long and you will have to train a new guy soon. Its much harder to train remotely than in person. Remote guys also can't replace and reconfigure a switch or server.

    My employer does a lot of development and testing in China, and at the same time claims we have great, innovative technology. China is a country where 99% of software, videos, and music is copied/stolen. Most brand-name consumer knock-offs come from China. Senior management rocket scientists must have planned this technology transfer as part of deals made with the Chinese government.

    Stupid businessmen here are blinded by the number of future consumers in China. What they don't get is how many of our products are of low priority to millions of farmers who may not have heat or running water let alone wifi or broadband internet access. Some city dwellers go for more discretionary goods, most often the cheaper local copy, while others are too busy working to play with leasure-time products or need to send money to families in the country.

    Managers who understand technology seem to be rare, so get your management certification (MBA) so you can assume more effective roles while protecting yourself from outsourcing and salary "globalization".
  • RE: Gartner's grim IT hiring outlook (Get a grip PLEASE)

    The economy is flat as a pancake and we are complaining about a mere 58% growth in hiring.Who the hell do we think we are?
  • I Disagree, 100

    I could not disagree more with this article and the author's "assuption" that people in IT need business skills. I will explain...

    The fact is, despite thje down economy, IT as a whole, has a much lower jobless rate than the rest of thje economy in the US (2.5% compared to what, 5.4% now?). We also have the highest salary average behind the medical field, in general. If offshoring and needs for business IT hybridfs is so hot, why these trends, where software engineers are still predicted to be hot careers through 2016???

    The facts are, we are in a small economic slump, world-round. So what! There will be jobs lost. The fact is, despite what everyone says about IT, jobs are still in demand. I know, I just left on for another here in Dallas, making allot more money, and recruitrers still calling me.

    The fact about business and IT is this. Yes, its true, US companies would love to offshore and commoditize 100% of IT and move their knowledge workers to some cushy offfice "business role". But thats not reality. The reality is, for every need for a biz/IT hybrid knowedle worker in the USA, there are twn more demands for engineers locally to drive new projects, custom web app dev, and a whole host of projects. Combine that with IT getting deeper, wider, mroe comlicated, and mroe involved, and you have the perfect storm coming after we get through this recession, where local US IT workers (non-busienss) will be in huge demand. There wont be enough left because so many have dropped out due to the way US corps have treated them. Baby-boomers are retiring and young people avoiding computer science. Who's left to run all this 10-fold increase in digital media, moving business processes to RIA's in the cloud, web 2.0 and web devs, talented network engineers???

    Guess what...its all about supply and demand. After oil levels off, Obama is elected in November, and the economy creeps back in 2009, get ready for a read hot IT staffing boom and shortage in the US like this country has never seen. You will see US corps begging for US IT workers, who will be able to write their own ticket.
    • I like and agree with your optimism...

      However, if Obama is elected in November, as you seem to hope, the economy will take a drastic turn for the worse. This will be especially true if he's joined by a larger contingent of tax-and-squander Democrats in Congress.

      If you like prosperity, innovation, and growth ? not to mention actually [i]keeping[/i] a majority of the money you earn ? you'll vote against the quasi-socialists who have co-opted the Democratic party.