September 24, 2012, 10:05 AM — When Ken Stephens, a senior vice president of Xerox Cloud Services, tried to hire a product manager from IBM recently, he had quite a shock. "I offered him a 40% raise," Stevens said in an interview. "But then IBM came back and gave him 20% on top of that."
Not every IT pro who has a résumé chock-full of cloud-related skills will be the object of a bidding war, of course. But in the last eight months or so, "the light has gone on in the heads of CIOs and CEOs, and a gap between supply [of IT personnel with skills for the cloud] and demand has opened up," says David Foote, whose consultancy, Foote Partners, keeps close track of IT compensation, certifications, and employment.
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Although salaries aren't spiking at the pace of the old dot-com days, times are good for those with the right skills and the flexibility to learn how to develop, deploy, and manage applications and services in the cloud. Foote's observation regarding the limited supply of top-flight engineers and developers to work on cloud-related projects is borne out by interviews with six of the leading public cloud providers. All are hiring rapidly; all say talent is now at a premium.
Tim James, director of recruiting for Rackspace, mixes his metaphors a bit, but is absolutely clear about the search for engineers. "We're in a war for talent. Talk to Amazon, or LinkedIn, or Salesforce. We're all fishing from the same pond," he says.