Are you underpaid, underappreciated and overworked in your IT department? Cheer up, because 2012 looks like an opportune time for IT professionals to look for new, higher-paying jobs.
The IT job market did a 180-degree turnaround in 2011, and it is poised for continued growth in 2012, experts say.
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The number of available IT jobs in the United States rose significantly -- up 12 percent year-over-year in November on the website Dice.com -- and several major metropolitan areas including Silicon Valley, New York City and Washington, D.C., are experiencing shortages of skilled IT workers.
Indeed, the IT market is so strong that the unemployment rate for the U.S. tech industry was at 2.7 percent in November.
"Anybody who is good and wants a job, has one," says Matt McGee, vice president of technical staffing services at Cincinnati-based Pomeroy. "You don't find a lot of qualified, unemployed IT people right now."
This dynamic is expected to continue in 2012. In a December survey of 1,200 IT hiring managers, Dice.com found that 65 percent will add IT professionals in the first half of 2012 and a significant number -- 27 percent -- plan to expand their IT workforce by more than 20 percent. Most employers are looking for IT workers with six to 10 years of experience, followed by workers with two to five years of experience.
For CIOs, the trend means that they could lose their best technical talent unless they are proactive with compensation, flexible work arrangements and exposure to emerging technologies.
"If your salaries are more than 10 percent lower than market rates, and you are not doing something very interesting technically or very personally rewarding, then your employees are at risk," says McGee, who anticipates a lot of poaching of tech talent in 2012. "For IT people who are way underpaid and unhappy, it's the best time I've seen in years for people with IT skill sets to go find their dream jobs."