Demand for Skilled IT Professionals in 2017
January 27, 2017

Pete Goldin
APMdigest

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More than one-third (37 percent) of IT professionals plan to begin searching for a new employer and 26 percent plan to accept a new job next year, according to the 2017 Tech Career Outlook survey conducted by Spiceworks.

While 69 percent of IT professionals plan to switch jobs to advance their IT skills, 64 percent are looking for a more competitive salary, and 40 percent want to work for a company that makes IT more of a priority.

“Businesses rely on IT professionals to protect company data and make sure the devices and services they rely on ‘just work,’ but many IT professionals believe they’re underpaid and their department is underfunded,” said Peter Tsai, IT analyst at Spiceworks. “This is leading many tech professionals to take advantage of the favorable job market expected next year and seek employers that prioritize their IT department, invest in tech talent, and provide adequate resources IT professionals need to be successful.”

Most IT Professionals Feel Appreciated, but Underpaid

The survey results show that although 61 percent of IT professionals feel appreciated by their current employer, 59 percent believe they’re underpaid.

Additionally, less than a quarter of IT professionals are expecting a salary increase in excess of 5 percent in 2017 and only 12 percent are expecting a promotion.

However, 70 percent of respondents expect the IT job market to remain favorable in 2017, leading many to believe higher paying jobs with more potential for advancement will exist in the coming year.

Most Important IT Skill in 2017: Cybersecurity

In terms of the tech skills necessary to be successful, 95 percent of IT professionals said cybersecurity expertise, soft skills, and computer networking expertise will be important skills to have in 2017. When asked which skills IT professionals are planning to improve next year, only 29 percent said they’re planning to work on soft skills, such as better team management and communication, but 62 percent said they plan to focus on improving their cybersecurity expertise via certifications or training.

However, organizations are often hesitant to invest in security training for IT professionals, despite the fact that 55 percent of organizations do not employ or contract a cybersecurity expert. As a result, many IT professionals are seeking employers that are willing to help advance their IT skills and fill the cybersecurity skills gap.

Greatest IT Challenge in 2017: Making IT a Priority Among Business Leaders

When asked what IT tasks will be the most challenging next year, most IT professionals cited the obstacle of getting business leaders to understand the importance of IT priorities and fund critical IT projects. These challenges are also reflected in the Spiceworks 2017 State of IT report, which shows IT budgets will remain flat in 2017 despite the fact that 60 percent of organizations expect revenue to increase next year.

IT professionals also expect to face major challenges associated with keeping their organization’s data secure, ensuring IT infrastructure is up to date, and upgrading end-of-life software and operating systems on time — issues often caused by a lack of adequate IT funding.

Methodology: The survey was conducted in October 2016 and included 476 respondents from North America and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Respondents represent a variety of company sizes including small-to-medium-sized businesses and enterprises. Respondents come from a variety of industries including manufacturing, healthcare, nonprofits, education, government, and finance.

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