Are you getting stiffed as the IT budget rises?

Is it more important to reward people, or to start buying stuff again?

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average U.S. salary rose an almost-noticeable 0.3 percent (PDF) during the third quarter of this year, though the Consumer Price Index that tracks the cost of everything you buy in your personal life rose 1.2 percent, so consumers in metro areas actually lost 0.9 percent of salary.

The IT business and people with the skills to work in it are supposed to be doing a little better, especially given plans for IT budgets this year.

I posted a piece yesterday mentioning that Bangalore-based outsourcer Infosys employs almost 15,000 people in the U.S. and is hiring more. (The point was that Equinix, Virtacore and other cloud-service and cloud-infrastructure vendors are hiring almost exclusively in the U.S. because that's where they can find the skills.

I also mentioned a Forrester announcement that its newer research shows IT will have less to spend on technology than it thought earlier in the year.

That lower amount is still something like 9 percent, which is backed up by Gartner and IDC, both of which expect growth in IT spending of around 5 percent.

A lot of that money goes to "IT Debt," maintenance, repairs and replacements on older machines and software that haven't been fixed for a while because the money wasn't available.

So no one expects all that money to be going directly to the help deskers with frustration-patterned baldness from pulling their hair out after talking to users, the IT project managers with finger-shaped tan lines on their faces from the amount of time they spend in facepalm during and after business-unit project meetings and/or CIOs -- well, they do OK for the usually short amount of time they're allowed to stick around, so we won't worry about them for now.

IT people at large companies scraped their way to 0.38 percent raises on average between 2009 and 2010, according to surveys from PSRInc, which is owned by consultancy and IT-industry research company Janco Associates SMBs were stuck with increases of just 0.11 percent.

That's not exactly rich, but remember we're coming out of what blogger Timothy Morgan said at the beginning of 2009 was an ordeal that makes the dot-bomb look like "a cake walk."

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