Survey probes into IT skills shortage

CIOs have asked and IT World Canada shall answer.

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

The survey will dig deeper into the issue of the IT skills shortage, which has been affecting the IT industry not only in Canada but around the world, said Andrew White, president and group publisher, IT World Canada, who is spearheading the salary survey.

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

What sets this study apart from other salary surveys in the market, said White, is its focus on the issues that confront the people working in the IT industry. Canadian salary surveys either come from recruitment firms or are focused on information provided by human resources (HR) managers, he said. “None of those surveys really address the issue of what people in IT jobs really feel.”

The survey is designed to provide IT professionals, CIOs and HR managers first-hand information about the current trends in salaries for various IT skills, what kind of organizations IT workers are looking to work for, what keeps IT workers satisfied and what pushes them away to look for other jobs, how companies can attract and retain the skills they need, what type of skills are getting the big bucks and more, according to Sue Schroeter, an independent marketing and communications strategist commissioned for the Salary Survey ‘06 for IT Professionals.

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

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

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

The survey will also be a useful tool for educational institutions in their bid to actively encourage more enrolment in IT, by providing information about the various types of positions available in the industry and the kind of skills that companies consider valuable, said White. “At the end of the day, our job as an unbiased communications company is to keep the industry thriving,” he said.

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

Computerworld Canada urges readers to provide feedback about the issues covered by the survey. Comments and suggestions can be e-mailed to Editor Greg Enright at [email protected]

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

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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