A Foote Partners report finds certified and noncertified pay rates rose unexpectedly in the second quarter for 2010, but notes market volatility is likely to continue to impact hiring practices in the IT sector.
Pay for 219 individual IT certifications displayed an unexpected
gain in the second quarter of 2010 (April through June), the first
quarterly increase since the same period in 2006, according to a
recently published quarterly update of Foote Partners' IT Skills and
Certifications Pay Index (ITSCPI) of market values for 449 certified
and noncertified IT and business skills. Meanwhile, premium pay for 230
noncertified skills posted a second straight gain, returning to solid
quarterly growth that began in 2004 but faltered briefly during the
Also published this week were updates to Foote Partners IT Skills
and Certifications Volatility Index, which measures and compares
volatility in market values for certified and noncertified skills from
2007 through July 2010. The 2nd Quarter 2010 market volatility score of
32 percent remains virtually unchanged from the previous quarter, an
improvement compared to the all-time highest index of 38.7 percent
recorded last summer. The research firm noted volatility index scores
of between 14 percent and 19 percent posted in quarterly returns from
2004 to 2008 have been considered normal market behavior heretofore.
David Foote, Foote Partners co-founder, CEO and Chief Research Officer
and publisher of the report, said he believes this sudden burst in
certifications market is an aberration and simply further evidence of
highly volatile and uncertain conditions in the market for skills at
the moment, and said he'd like to be able to report broader optimism in
the labor market for certified professionals but can't.
"There's nothing in our research that points to any of the usual
factors being in place that can sustain a more expansive turnaround in
certification pay that has been on a steady decline for the past five
years," he said. "Until that happens, from time to time you can expect
to see short-term certification demand spurts like we saw in the 2nd
quarter with specific specializations in applications development,
networking and security."
Noncertified IT skill categories, which led a 1.7 percent average
increase in pay premiums for 230 skills in Q2 2010 (April, May and
June) include systems and networking skills (+3 percent in market
value), applications development skills (+2.4 percent) and management,
methodology and process skills (+2.2 percent). Specific IT
certification categories saw a modest 0.5 percent increase in pay
premiums across 219 certifications for the same period, with beginner
and training certifications rising 5.6 percent in market value,
followed by system administration and engineering certifications (+1.1
percent) and applications development certifications (+0.8 percent).
"As we've mentioned before, accelerated transition to new workforce
models and IT service delivery systems is driving a lot of the current
market. Employers have been struggling with transforming the IT
workforce for years, trying to become more agile, flexible and
responsive to the business," Foote said. "This skills market volatility
is a sure sign that employers are taking advantage of a rare window of
opportunity to think through and execute on new staffing models that
don't have full-time hiring as a central component."
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.