Offshoring 'not lowering IT wages'

Changes in the IT industry are making work more challenging and opening up more opportunities, not lowering wages, according to one analyst

An IT employment analyst has lashed out at claims that IT workers are unhappy and suffering low wages because of outsourcing.

Research released yesterday by e-learning firm SkillSoft said UK IT staff's morale is falling, and that they were blaming pay cuts and jobs going overseas.

But analyst firm Foote Partners disagrees, saying offshoring is no longer affecting IT workers' pay in the US and Europe.

David Foote, chief research officer at the firm, said: "It's not as if IT workers are not challenged enough by new regulations and technology. That's led to a really robust economy where there are a lot of opportunities. People now have choices.

"There are morale problems but when haven't there been? Business executives are more determined than ever to give people what they want."

Foote said in the last year pay has risen for IT staff working in applications development, databases and systems administration. These areas were declining in value last year, he said, by as much as 10 percent.

According to a Foote Partners survey of 50,000 IT workers, pay for 89 non-certified and 87 certified technical skills grew 3.8 percent and 1.3 percent respectively in the first six months of 2005.

"It's true that 18 months ago, many tech skills were subject to declines in pay. But companies have become more aware of the difficulties in doing offshoring successfully. They're once again investing in their own people to build and maintain systems critical to their business strategies."

In a separate report, analyst group Forrester today warned that European techies will experience further rounds of job cuts as more firms turn to outsourcing. Because of this Forrester urged the EU to encourage more people to train in business-orientated IT subjects.

Foote agreed that IT workers with business skills are likely to be more sought after than purely technical staff.

He said: "The kind of IT worker in demand now is much different to one 18 months ago. They are hard to retain but companies are willing to pay for that. Offshoring has become difficult to do as well as it was thought, so there are a lot of options that there weren't before. All of the action seems to be in the consulting services."