The chronic IT skills shortage is costing the US $500 billion in business revenue. Companies are crying out for professionals with Year 2000 experience, and skills in Internet and electronic commerce.
For those in work, salaries are leaping by 20 per cent annually, compared to just four per cent increases in other industries. These trends, though less extreme, are reflected in most areas of the West.
According to a recent study by the Meta Group, there are 1.2 million people working in IT but there are a further 200,000 unfilled vacancies. This is costing the US industry $10 billion in business income, and $15 billion in increased compensation costs.
Meta believes organisations will call on 'power users' and librarians to fill the skills gap. Said analyst Mike Gotta: ?This will force IT to adopt more disciplined content and publishing management processes to enable broader organisational participation.?
Salaries enjoyed by Internet professionals such as Webmasters are around 16 per cent higher than those of colleagues who deal with the technical side of Internet sites. The reason may be because fewer than half of Webmasters work in the IT department, while 43 per cent share management responsibilities between end users and IT.
According to a separate Meta guide to Internet salaries, Java experience is one of the skills in highest demand, with requirements set to exceed supply over the next two years.
The scarcity of technical talent is forcing up salaries for certain 'mature' skills too. Networking engineers with TCP/IP experience are currently being paid up to 15 per cent above their usual rate, while SQL professionals can command up to 15 per cent premiums for full time employees and $100-plus per hour rates.
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