IT Skills, Pay Premiums Drop in Value: Foote Report

Declines were widespread, with IT certifications taking the biggest hit, such as entry-level and training certifications.

The average market value for 265 noncertified skills dipped slightly (-0.2 percent) from April to June following consistent gains in the previous five calendar quarters, while pay premiums for 237 IT certifications continued their "abysmal performance" for the 18th time in the last 19 quarters, posting an overall loss in market value of nearly 2 percent for the quarter, according to Foote Partners' latest IT Skills and Pay Demand report.

Only one category of certifications-database-grew in overall market value (+2.6 percent) in the latest quarterly benchmark update from Foote Partners, bolstered by gains in three Oracle certifications. For noncertified IT skills, four of eight skills categories showed improvement: management, methodology and process skills (+2.4 percent in pay premiums), messaging and communications skills (+1.7 percent), database skills (+0.6 percent) and SAP & enterprise business applications skills (+0.3 percent).

Declines were more widespread, with IT certifications taking the biggest hit, such as entry-level and training certs (-5.9 percent in pay premiums), Web development (-4.0 percent), IT security (-2.9 percent), systems administration and engineering (-2.5 percent), applications development and programming languages (-2.3 percent), and networking certifications (-0.2 percent). Only four of eight categories of noncertified skills recorded losses in market value, though these losses were not as steep as those recorded in the certifications groups.

"The difference this quarter over last is that several economic indicators are now telling us that the economic recovery has deteriorated. Prices are rising for many goods and services, consumer confidence is low, and the unemployment rate is not improving. There are fears of a double dip recession, a plummeting stock market, and riots in the streets of Europe," said David Foote, Foote Partners' co-founder, CEO, chief research officer and publisher of the report. "This will of course influence staffing and workforce decisions going forward, but the question is how much? The drivers for skills and talent acquisition in evidence today are more unique and compelling than prior downturns, and they won't easily crumble under pressure."

The report includes details on gains and losses in pay premium for 502 individual certified and noncertified IT skills at 2,126 U.S and Canadian employers (118,300 IT professionals). The updated report also includes results from the firm's IT Skills and Certifications Volatility Index, which measures demand and pay volatility in market values for certified and noncertified skills. Salaries and bonuses for 140 popular IT job titles are surveyed and reported in Foote Partners' compensation benchmark research, also updated every three months.