What have you been finding? Quarter-by-quarter skills volatility has been in the 29% to 39% range in the past year and a half. From 2005 to 2008, it averaged only half of that. This index has been swinging back and forth by as much as 10 points over periods as short as three months, which is unprecedented. As for the market values themselves, noncertified skills have shown overall gains in two straight quarters, while average certification pay has been on a steady decline for four years straight. But as you dig deeper into each skill category, consistency is very hard to find. The truth is that IT employment and salaries have been stabilizing, but pay and demand for specific skills and specialized talent remain highly volatile and unpredictable. There are clearly other factors than the recession at work here.
Like what, for instance? An almost seismic shifting to new IT service delivery and sourcing models, for one thing. CIOs have been struggling with this for years, under pressure from their business counterparts to become more agile and flexible, react faster and execute more quickly -- to rise to the challenge of becoming a business impact player. But there's risk involved in organizational and staffing change of this magnitude, and it's not easy. In better times, the general attitude for many was, "Why stick my neck out?" So instead, they'd just sort of rearrange the furniture. What the downturn has done is get IT managers "unstuck" and motivated. For some, it is career opportunism. For the rest, it's survival: fear of losing their jobs if they don't take advantage of a rare window of opportunity to start blasting away at traditional IT staffing models.