Weekly Word on the Street: Surveys Say…

by Jim Staats | Jan 27, 2012

Takeaway of the week is another round of survey-a-go-go. No sooner do you read one firm’s survey or report of the positive news of rising job openings, salaries and bonuses amid the tech-sector, then you come across a report which debunks that bright, shiny news with reports of massive job cuts late last year. Guess it comes down to “What report have you read lately?”


Survey: Big Pay Bumps for Tech Pros

Good news for the prospective IT pro or ladder-climber: workers in technology fields enjoyed significant compensation jolts last year, according to a recent salary study.

Findings from the 2012-2011 Salary Survey done by Dice, the well-known career site for technology professionals, show employees within the field benefited from the biggest annual salary boost since 2008 and more generous bonus offerings, the site reported in a recent press release.

Following a pair of years of little to no change in wages, the average salary increased from $79,384 in 2010 to $81,327 last year, the survey noted. In addition, nearly a third of those employees - 32 percent - received bonuses, up from 29 percent in 2010 and 24 percent in 2009. The average dollar figure for those bonuses bumped up eight percent to nearly $9,000.

Industries most likely to pay out bonuses? Telecom, hardware, banking, utilities and software, survey findings show.

With a full-fledged resurgence taking place in Silicon Valley, annual tech salaries in the region topped six figures for the first time since the Dice survey was introduced nearly a decade ago. (Read this Wall Street Journal article for this noteworthy nugget.)

However, that well-known tech hotbed isn’t the only location with salary figures zooming upward. Other U.S. cities with significant growth include Austin, Portland, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Raleigh and Washington D.C.

Skill sets showing high salary growth include advanced business application programming, service oriented architecture, Java database connectivity and Weblogic.


Gartner: IT Crucial for Business Regardless of Economic Conditions

Successful companies are the ones that integrate their IT strategies within strong business strategies, regardless of the economic conditions, according to a recent survey of CIOs in the UK.

Figures compiled by the global analyst giant, Gartner, suggest that the more flourishing firms are those in which their IT capabilities inform their business strategy.

The survey, reported on in Computerworld UK, showed that respondents have shifted their focus from growth and innovation to managing that growth, retaining new customers, enterprise innovation and operational results. Signs, analysts note, of the pervasiveness of IT.

CIOs, the survey report reveals, are concentrating on innovation in the products field, with the customer experience and how to engage the customer through mobile and social media channels.

“That’s not traditionally where IT has invested the most,” said Dave Aron of Gartner. “It’s recognition of IT being more pervasive.”


Tech Hiring On the Rise Despite Automation Shift

Technology firms on U.S. soil continue the ever-growing tilt to automated functions, but hiring in this sector remains on the rise, new findings indicate.

According to a recent report by Forrester along with a study completed by the National Science Foundation, hiring figures for software and IT services remain in healthy states despite more firms leaning on machines for daily functions, rather than people, a new Computerworld report notes.

Automation may be hurting tech manufacturing and telecommunications, but the U.S. tech industry as a whole saw a net gain of 42,000 workers in 2011 compared with the prior year, according to Forrester.

Technical services and software development within the U.S. technical arena added 131,000 jobs in 2011.

While the NSF report looks at the technical industry overall, Forrester zeroes in on the high-tech industry, which includes IT and telecommunications.


Despite Late Year Surge in Job Cuts, 2012 Looks OK for Tech Roles

Technology professionals still reeling from a glut of downsizing in the latter half of 2011 may have better fortune this year, a new report on those cuts indicates.

After seeing a second-half increase of nearly 60 percent in tech-sector job cuts last year, the number of cuts announced by firms has dropped to late-90’s levels, this week’s report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas shows in an eWeek article on the findings.

“The second-half surge notwithstanding, the technology sector is definitely among the areas of the economy enjoying the fruits of recovery,” said the firm’s CEO, John Challenger.

“Several trends in the sector, including the advancement of cloud storage and the push to develop more portable computing devices, such as tabs and smartphones, are helping to create and protect jobs in the sector.”

Based on IT spending forecasts recently released by Gartner, technology jobs should continue to grow in 2012, but likely at a slower rate.

“Even if job growth declines slightly in 2012, technology will still be among the strongest job markets,”


Challenger said. Entrepreneurship Alive and Well in the Valley of Silicon

With a new influx of startups and investment dollars, Silicon Valley is welcoming a whole new surge of high-tech dreamers - and their technology-shaping ideas - to its environs.

The global heartbeat of the technical sector has once again become the mecca for youngsters in their 20s and fresh out of college eager to build upon technical innovations they’ve grown up with, a New York Times article reports.

Unfazed by the boom-and-bust cycles associated with Silicon Valley - dotcom travails, anyone? - these newcomers are arriving with optimism and confidence unshaken by even the most dreary economic forecast.

To those viewing from a distance with the knowledge of what happened to previous generations, these newbies are described in the article as either brash and entitled with short attention spans and a video-game approach to life or the embodiment of a social conscience and maturity that sets them apart from the high-tech gold diggers of the 1990s.

Also noted in the article is with the rise of social media, technical skills are not the only essential sought. Graduates with degrees in history, psychology and music are also being added to the high-tech mix.

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