The Foote Partners quarterly IT Insider Compensation Benchmarks and Employment Trends study of 1,860 employers found pay for 150 certified and non-certified IT skills dropped by 4.2 percent and 0.5 percent respectively in 2004.
But pockets of in-demand skills areas have also emerged around networking, messaging, groupware and application development. Hiring by IT services firms has accelerated in 2004 and has driven up pay for IT consultants with niche skills in networking, information security, applications development, Web services and systems integration.
The report predicts this trend will continue in 2005 with a flood of pent-up upgrades and systems enhancements by the big corporates that were delayed in 2004 because of IT resources being diverted to meet the Sarbanes-Oxley compliance deadline.
"Hot" skills identified for the next 12 months include storage (EMC, Brocade, Veritas); security (CISSP, CISM, CISA); networking (Cisco, VoIP); Web services (XML, .Net, WebSphere); messaging; and Linux and open source.
IT jobs most resistant to being outsourced over the next year are predicted to be network architects; integrators; security forensics and auditing; enterprise data management; business analysts; project managers; and CRM professionals.
Those skills expected to be least in demand in 2005 include beginner certifications such as Microsoft Certified Professional and Certified Computing Professional, and Siebel certified consultants.
The report also claims businesses are paying premium rates to keep hold of their top IT staff and that many are thinking twice about rushing into outsourcing deals.
David Foote, president and chief research officer for Foote Partners, said in the report: "IT decision makers have lately become somewhat less inclined to play the offshoring or outsourcing card when under pressure. They're looking instead for ways to keep go-to 'A-team' players from jumping ship and, according to our research findings, that is showing up in premium skills pay increases that are being paid in base pay adjustments or straight cash bonuses and sometimes both."