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Offshoring blamed in part for IT's jobless recovery

Patrick Thibodeau | Dec. 7, 2010
TechServe says only 600 IT jobs created in U.S. in Nov.; consultant says back office IT jobs in U.S., Europe will be cut in half by 2014

Jerry Luftman, a professor at Stevens Institute of Technology's Howe School of Technology Management in Hoboken, N.J., who conducts an annual survey of IT budget allocations for the Society for Information Management (SIM) in Chicago. said he has found a similar shift in IT budgets toward offshoring.

In better economic times, about 3% to 4% of IT budgets on average were spent on offshore outsourcing. Today, IT departments allocate an average of 5% of the budget on offshoring, and that allocation is expected to rise to 7% in 2011, said Luftman.

Nonetheless, Luftman is bullish on the outlook for IT employment for people, even students coming out of college, who have the right skills.

"The bottom line is IT is still the place to be for a career point of view," said Luftman. "Not only are there great job opportunities in the short term, I think for the foreseeable the future the opportunities are not only to be there but they will increase. Everything will be much more dependent on IT."

IT workers, however, will need more than simply technical skills, he said. From an employer's perspective, "if you're just going to offer me technical skills, I might as well just go offshore and get it a lot cheaper," said Luftman.

According to SIM surveys, employers are now are seeking a good balance of skills from IT professionals, including technical skills, general business knowledge, industry knowledge if possible, negotiation and communications skills, as well as a sense of ethics, said Luftman.

He said his students are getting jobs quickly, and participation in college fairs by companies is at its highest levels.


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