Over two-thirds of IT professionals think demand for their services will continue to exceed the supply, but nearly half are worried about their long-term career prospects. That contradictory finding is one of the takeaways from IT staffing firm TEKsystems’ recently released survey of IT professionals.
The survey, “IT Professional Perspectives 2013,” queried 2400 IT pros. It also found that, even with a significant amount of job security jitters, 56 percent of IT workers believe there is a shortage of IT professionals in the U.S., and 45 percent said that their company struggles to attract, retain and develop their IT workforce.
How to reconcile the career jitters with the assessment of a shortage of good workers? Fifteen percent of respondents said their chief worry was the fast pace of the industry, and 14 percent blamed younger workers for their nervousness about long-term career prospects, because of a perceived preference by management for younger workers with more modern skills.
Another issue promoting worry: 45 percent said that outsourcing, cloud computing and similar technologies create what the survey described as “an environment where IT jobs are not sustainable compared to other professions.” Other factors causing worry: experience, training and certification are not as valued as they should be, there’s an increase in outsourcing, and the prevalence of contract positions.
Jason Hayman, market research manager at TEKsystems, noted in a statement the fast-pace demands that face both workers and organizations. “Organizations that do not keep pace with the change face the challenge of hiring in a market where there are not enough IT workers to fill all the jobs,” he said.
And, Hayman pointed out, IT professionals similarly “have the responsibility of identifying which technologies will become increasingly important at their organizations and ensure that they are equipped with the skills needed to handle new technology initiatives.”
More Than a Paycheck
But, in spite of the nervousness at how face paced their industry is, IT respondents ranked “exciting, cutting edge work” as the second best thing about the career field, after “good pay.”
Cutting edge technology was the key factor that 18 percent of the respondents cited in their rankings of the top companies where they’d like to work. The top five: Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM and the Walt Disney Company. Corporate culture/values was the next highest factor, for 16 percent.
In short, Hayman said, IT professionals “are looking for more than a simple paycheck when choosing a job in their field.”
The latest high-tech skills are not the only skills respondents think they will need to succeed in IT in the future. Ninety-three percent said that strong business skills will also be required, with verbal communication ranked as the most needed business skill. Other skills IT workers think they need to improve include an understanding of the industry, problem solving, written communication and leadership.
In fact, slightly more than two-thirds either agree or strongly agree that more IT professionals in the future will be associated with, or working for, other departments than IT, such as finance, operations and marketing.