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Demand for IT professionals rapidly outstripping US supply, study finds

SIM and Professor Luftman release 2007 CIO Survey data

The IT job market hasn’t been so robust since the late 1990s, but explosive success is breeding serious shortages in high-quality IT talent, with potential negative consequences for continued growth, according to a major new survey of chief information officers conducted by Stevens Institute of Technology’s Distinguished Professor Jerry Luftman, in association with the Society of Information Management.

Luftman, who is also Associate Dean of Graduate Information Systems Programs at Stevens, today released the results and ramifications of the SIM 2007 Survey of Chief Information Officers, conducted this summer.

The survey of IT executives from 112 companies across a range of industries was sponsored by the Society for Information Management (SIM) and administered and interpreted by Professor Luftman. The results were released today at a SIMposium conference in Memphis, Tenn.

The 2007 SIM survey report elaborates on the following findings and insights:

Retaining IT professionals has surpassed IT-Business alignment as the No. 1 concern for IT executives, a major change from the 2006 Survey. Compared to the 2006 SIM Survey, the focus on IT-Business Alignment came in second.

The market for IT professionals is the fastest-growing in the US economy. More than 1 million new jobs are projected to be added between 2004 and 2014. Six of the 30 occupations projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow the fastest in this time period are IT related. IT job prospects are expected to be good as demand increases because of rapid advancement in technologies, new business opportunities for leveraging applications, and the number of baby boomers expected to retire.

But there may not be sufficient IT talent in the pipeline to meet this growing demand. The IT hiring downturn during the early part of this decade and the fear of offshore outsourcing have caused a drop in enrollment for computer science and information systems courses at many universities. In the past decade, the number of students majoring in computer science has dropped 40%. A report from UCLA's higher-education research institute shows an even steeper decline of 70% between 2000 and 2005 of freshmen who planned to major in computer science.

The loss of IT skills and IT professionals will only accelerate the shift of IT jobs overseas. This inaccurate fear that IT jobs are going offshore has caused this shortage in the pipeline. If nothing is done to turn this trend around to meet the anticipated strong demand for IT workers in the United States, organizations will be forced to source their IT resources offshore.

Additionally, there is a significant change in the type of skills required for IT professionals; with the softer (e.g., communication, marketing, negotiating, business, industry) skills clearly on the rise.

Patrick A. Berzinski | EurekAlert!
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