Premium pay for networking skills on the rise

Premium pay for networking skills is on the rise as executives turn their thoughts to retention, Foote Partners reports. A recent study from the US IT workforce research firm finds that an increase in hiring, retention concerns, disappointment with offshore outsourcing and high demand for IT consultants are all driving up skills pay for specific specialties.

Foote Partners' quarterly Hot Technical Skills and Certification Pay Index shows that pay for 150 certified and non-certified skills has dropped in 2004. However, networking, messaging, groupware and application development skills are bucking the trend. According to the research, networking skills pay has jumped 6% this year, messaging and groupware skills pay increased 4.5%, and skills pertaining to applications development and programming have increased 4% in value.

"The remarkable part is that, at this time last year, these same skills groups were registering annual declines of 6% to 12%. It's a complete reversal and a clear signal that businesses are once again investing in their full-time employees," says David Foote, president and chief research officer for Foote Partners.

Other skills and certifications to watch in 2005 include storage/SAN/NAS, security, Web services, Linux/open source, Web-enabled analytics, wireless skills, and extreme programming.

In more good news for tech workers, Foote notes that drawbacks associated with offshore outsourcing are coming to light. "Offshore outsourcing has proven to be far riskier and tougher to succeed at than had been anticipated, in part due to employee retention issues, especially when workers tasked with knowledge transfer and vendor management are involved." As a result, companies are less inclined to outsource, and are focusing instead on ways to keep their top talent from bolting.

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