Survey probes into IT skills shortage

CIOs have asked and IT World Canada shall answer.

A survey of Canadian IT professionals is underway to provideinsights into skills, salaries, hiring, retention and other issuesfacing the IT profession. Dubbed Salary Survey 06 for ITProfessionals, the project will probe the opinions of 3,000respondents from various IT fields across the country.

The survey will dig deeper into the issue of the IT skillsshortage, which has been affecting the IT industry not only inCanada but around the world, said Andrew White, president and grouppublisher, IT World Canada, who is spearheading the salarysurvey.

“CIOs want information to help them find and retain the rightkind of people,” said White. The salary survey can also be a toolfor CIOs when developing business plans to “cost-justify” to theirexecutives the salary they should be paying for the skills thatthey need, he added.

What sets this study apart from other salary surveys in themarket, said White, is its focus on the issues that confront thepeople working in the IT industry. Canadian salary surveys eithercome from recruitment firms or are focused on information providedby human resources (HR) managers, he said. “None of those surveysreally address the issue of what people in IT jobs reallyfeel.”

The survey is designed to provide IT professionals, CIOs and HRmanagers first-hand information about the current trends insalaries for various IT skills, what kind of organizations ITworkers are looking to work for, what keeps IT workers satisfiedand what pushes them away to look for other jobs, how companies canattract and retain the skills they need, what type of skills aregetting the big bucks and more, according to Sue Schroeter, anindependent marketing and communications strategist commissionedfor the Salary Survey ‘06 for IT Professionals.

Vital pieces of information that IT professionals can gain fromthe survey include salary facts based on major demographicindicators, such as size of company, geographic region, industry,and whether other factors such as years of experience, age orgender play a role in salary decisions, she said.

“IT professionals will be able to compare their salary to theaverage salary of all respondents in specific job categories.”

Survey results will also prove beneficial to HR managers byproviding information on what keeps their employees happy with thecompany they work for, White said. “I hope there will be interestfrom HR managers in terms of what they need to do to retain theirstaff, and I don’t think it’s just money.”

The survey will also be a useful tool for educationalinstitutions in their bid to actively encourage more enrolment inIT, by providing information about the various types of positionsavailable in the industry and the kind of skills that companiesconsider valuable, said White. “At the end of the day, our job asan unbiased communications company is to keep the industrythriving,” he said.

White added the survey is merely “the tip of the iceberg” ofwhat is intended to be a bigger program to provide the IT communitywith more tools and valuable information, the ultimate goal ofwhich is overcoming the problem of the IT skills shortage.

Computerworld Canada urges readers to provide feedback about theissues covered by the survey. Comments and suggestions can bee-mailed to Editor Greg Enright at

Highlights of the survey findings will be published in IT WorldCanada’s print publications (Computerworld Canada, Network WorldCanada, CIO Canada, CIO Government Review) and online at results of the salary survey are expected to be available inApril, said Schroeter.

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