IT talent feeding managerial roles

Companies in Australia are scrambling to not only retain their top hands-on IT talent but to attract tech-savvy executives to management positions.

While younger IT prospects pitch for permanent in-house IT roles with the promise of additional creativity and input, more seasoned techies with business acumen are being offered the top managerial positions.

Forrester Research vice president John McCarthy said businesses are now starting to rekindle projects, and as a result are competing to retain particular IT skills at a managerial level.

"Wages for positions like senior architect, project manager and business analysts are creeping up as companies compete to retain these skills," McCarthy said.

"There is a 7 percent growth in hiring compared to last year and a lot of new development and heightened demand for those with high-end .Net and Java skills."

According to Ken Owiti, principal for recruitment firm Hamilton James and Bruce, there is a push to convert contractors to permanent positions so an organization can retain intellectual capital and push greater business acumen through the IT shop.

"On a managerial level, program or project management and delivery is a hot area at the moment, because of the issues surrounding vendor management, stakeholder management and budgetary controls. IT staff are now being hired on business acumen rather than technology knowledge because firms are now asking the question of cultural fit in regards to business value," Owiti said.

"Organizations now cannot afford to have IT staff in-house with no understanding of business - even in the highly specialized and technology-dependent roles."

Jane Bianchini, technology director for recruitment agency Ambition, said the "dead wood" is still facing the chopping block.

She said the Gen-X and Gen-Y of IT are changing the current employment model, because they are not interested in promotions and loathe bureaucracy.

They want creativity in projects, the ability to push their skills and organizations are changing the environment to accommodate these traits.

Mark McConnell, managing director of specialist IT recruiter Frontier Group Australia, said a paradigm shift is needed to attract these people. He said these younger people present management with a challenge, because they don't want to be stifled by bureaucracy or a lack of innovation.

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