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Weathering the storm: Business CIOs are safest

Ross O. Storey | Feb. 11, 2009
What will be the information technology employment landscape for 2009? What are the best strategies for survival? A range of pundits share their views about IT recruitment, salary and employment prospects for the year ahead.

We may even start to see a trend to outsource IT services that will reduce the need for skilled IT staff even further.

Hottest demand

Higher level IT management skills are still the ones in hottest demand, agrees John Brand, research director with Sydney-based IT industry analyst firm Hydrasight.

We still see a significant need for security and identity professionals and a variable demand for architects, but we are seeing some drop off in demand for lower level programmer and junior developer roles, Brand says. Senior developers and experienced project managers appear to continue to be in strong demand. CIOs are specifically concerned about knowledge and skills retention for their organisations. However, the recent softening of the global economy appears to have made them more comfortable with the ability to retain and even re-recruit from alumni.

Growth in the region

IT consulting and project management services firm, PTS Consulting, still forecasts growth in Singapore and across the region. It is looking to recruit experienced technical project managers to manage large-scale corporate relocations, data centre and business integration projects.

PTS Consulting managing director, Ben Watson, says that, with both front and back office staff reductions, the number of IT support personnel required will inevitably fall. Existing staff will be required to be a lot more flexible in the work they deliver and the location from which they operate, Watson says.

The financial services industry sector is seeing continued growth in the China and India markets and experienced international resources are in short supply in these regions. Businesses may therefore encourage staff to relocate. He says that this year, and the last three months in particular, have redefined employees sense of loyalty, security and, perhaps, their estimate of self worth.

With global institutions such as Lehman Brothers collapsing, employees have had to question the security of their current positions and are less inclined to view their current employer as long-term, Watson says.

Merger and acquisition activity will no doubt increase as struggling businesses are sold off and snapped up by competitors.

Senior executives with experience in integration, consolidation and divestments will continue to be in high demand, as will those who can demonstrate a track record of delivering cost savings and value to their organisations. Senior IT people with experience in managing change, consolidation and integration, will be sought after as businesses will be relying on experienced practitioners to help them weather the financial storm.

Korn/Ferry advice
  • To those currently employed, nows the time to deliver more value with less. Be very aligned to the pulse and strategic goals of the business and be open to new solutions and cheaper alternatives.
  • To those thinking of making a move in these turbulent timesstay, focus and commit. Take the time and opportunity to upgrade your skills and knowledge.
  • To those looking for employment, be flexible. Dont be too caught up on the size of the compensation package. Show that youre a team player and have a positive, confident attitude. Demonstrating that you have the right competencies and can deliver success is crucial.


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