Human resources departments are crying out for managers who can understand the intricacies of IT staffing.
According to Meta Group's 2004 IT Staffing and Compensation Guide, an increasing number of the world's biggest companies are creating a new hybrid HR/IT management role to take charge of IT's complex resourcing needs.
Maria Schafer, programme director at Meta, and author of the guide, said: "The role began to appear shortly before the millennium, when there was a surge in demand for IT personnel in the wake of Y2K compliance work and the dotcom boom. But today it is becoming much more common."
She added that an HR/IT programme manager would generally sit within the IT department and report to the chief information officer, with a dotted line into the HR function.
Schafer also noted that companies were recruiting these hybrid managers from both HR and IT backgrounds.
"Generally, they are people with an HR or recruitment background who have specialised in working within IT," she explained.
"In some cases, though, companies are hiring people directly from IT; perhaps the unusual 'people person' who wants to follow a different path."
One senior HR strategist told vnunet.com that the trend was long overdue. "Because of the complexity of IT, the discipline can be pretty meaningless to people without an IT background," she said.
"As a result, HR departments can be isolated from IT processes and projects because they don't understand what they're working with.
"That means the quality of service that IT departments are currently receiving from HR in areas such as recruitment and performance management may be worse than for other parts of the business."
Meta's guide also identified a growing gap between IT and non-IT salaries among global organisations.
More than three-quarters of companies surveyed indicated that they are paying IT employees as much as 20 per cent more than their non-technical counterparts.
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