At yesterday's Microsoft Career Conference, Robert Half International gave a presentation titled "IT Hiring and Compensation Trends for 2011." Below are some of the salient points from this discussion, with key points for IT pros and managers.

A few high-level trends include:

  • Companies are still cautious in hiring—while hiring is going up, the hiring process is getting longer.
  • Companies are increasing use of consultants and contractors for projects.
  • The biggest growth industries for IT are healthcare, manufacturing, non-profits, oil and gas, and high tech.
  • IT salaries are expected to increase by an average of 3.4%.

There is a growing demand for employees with the following skills:

  • Programming - .NET, Java, MySQL, PHP, Silverlight, SharePoint
  • Technological Proficiency - Knowledge of ERP packages
  • Business Mindset - Project management skills, general business knowledge
  • Security - Compliance, new security technologies, dealing with complex threats
  • Infrastructure Support - Help desk, PC technician, esp. skilled with supporting a mobile workforce
  • Networking - Virtualization and cloud
  • Electronic Health Records - IT to install and support medical record software

The most in-demand certifications include:

  • Cisco
  • Linux
  • Microsoft
  • Project Management
  • Security

The soft skills most desired, according to CIOs:

  • Leadership
  • Customer service
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • Written/verbal communication
  • Being able to align business and IT goals

Advice for managers to retain current employees (it's estimated that 40 percent of employees will be looking for new jobs in 2011):

  • Re-recruit current staff by selling them on benefits of working for company
  • Help staff establish a well-defined career path
  • Additional skills training via cross-training through organization
  • Consider flexible work arrangements for staff
  • Prevent burnout by making sure employees aren't overworked

For additional information or a salary calculator for your area, visit Robert Half Technology's website

Follow Brian Reinholz on Twitter 

Related Reading: