Career Central

A brief compendium of the IT workplace

IBM Hosts IT Workshop for Local Higher Ed

As part of a larger effort to combat the shortage of skills in the IT marketplace, IBM is bringing its application development technologies right through the front doors of academia.

The company hosted its first statewide university workshop to boost student application development skills Aug. 1-3 at North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, N.C. The workshop included schools from across the state.

The free, three-day IT architect workshop was intended to help universities incorporate application development concepts into their academic disciplines.

Architects led classes, lab work and discussions around application development trends using IBM Rational Software Technologies.

This workshop is part of IBMs 2-year-old Academic Initiative, which supplies universities with free software and discounted hardware in hopes to offer students an alternative to Windows technologies.

In this program, IBM works directly with universities to develop computer science curricula.

"The academic initiative has been around IBM for several years, but we re-announced it in 2004 as a program to work with universities and colleges to get students training on open standards and IBM technology," said Heather McClain, manager of strategy and operations for the IBM Academic Initiative, in Atlanta. So far, more than 2,500 universities have incorporated this content into their curricula, extending the coursework to more than 290,000 students.

Survey Shows Higher Base Pay for IT Pros

In a change from prior pay structures, more than half of IT professionals are now earning better pay for additional tech skills, but not via cash bonuses, according to a study released Aug. 2 by Foote Partners, an IT work force research company in New Canaan, Conn.

The study, which surveyed 54,000 IT professionals, found that in a change from prior quarters—when the pay for certified skills fell short of noncertified skills—pay targeted specifically to noncertified and certified IT skills has grown sharply in popularity.

While previously it has been more common to reward and recognize tech skills using cash bonuses and to adjust pay rates every 12 to 15 months according to published market values, Foote indicated that skills pay is now tucked into base salaries.

"Many bonus programs vanished during the economic recession," said David Foote, CEO and chief research officer of Foote Partners, in a statement. "And although theyve returned in force, what weve discovered is that the dominant practice today is to incorporate additional pay for IT certifications and noncertified skills into workers base salaries."

Report Suggests IT Workers Less Restless

Fifty percent of IT workers surveyed said they are not likely to look for a new job in the coming months, up from 44 percent in the previous quarter. This could suggest greater satisfaction in workers current employment situations, according to a report released Aug. 1 by Spherion, a recruiting and staffing agency.

Only 39 percent of respondents working in IT fields said they will be seeking new employment this quarter.

The report attributes this 9 percent drop to employers placing a greater emphasis on attracting and retaining skilled workers in light of a tighter job market, slowing efficiency gains, labor shortages at certain skill levels and an increase in labor compensation.

—Compiled by Deborah Rothberg

High-Tech Exec Market Gaining Steam

According to a recent study, the high-tech, financial and health care industries have the fastest-growing executive job market. Regionally, the West Coast, South/Southeast and metro New York have shown the most growth. Here are more details on jobs for high-tech execs:

* In June, 80 percent of recruiters were confident in the executive recruitment market in the next three months, up from 72 percent in May. Seventy percent were confident over the next six months, and only 5 percent were not confident.

* Sixty-nine percent of search companies intend to hire executives in the next three months, up from 61 percent in May and up 29 percent from one year ago.

* After reaching a new 12-month high in May, executives confidence in the employment market slightly cooled in June as rising interest rates and energy costs appear to be tempering expectations for future economic growth. Thirty-seven percent (down from 44 percent in May) felt the market would improve in the next six months, and 35 percent (down from 39 percent in May) felt it would improve in the next three months.

Source: The EER (Executive Employment Report) released July 31 by New York-based ExecuNet, an executive job search and networking company