A slowing economy in the U.S. has IT pros here feeling less secure about their jobs, as I blogged earlier this week.
But it looks like there is at least one sector where they have nothing to fear. According to Bank Technology News, more than half of U.S. financial services companies surveyed by recruitment consultant Claymore Partners plan to increase their staff numbers this year.
The 41 human resource executives responding to the survey find IT roles the most difficult to fill -- even with their companies' increasing use of automation and willingness to outsource some IT functions. The subprime mortgage crisis, which is leading them to cut jobs elsewhere, will have little if any impact on their plans for IT staff, say the respondents.
Claymore's managing director credits the increasing use of service-oriented architecture to revamp aging infrastructures as a key reason that IT pros' stock remains so high at such companies. Many observers, including the Claymore exec, think these companies prefer to keep SOA skills in-house. (For some opposing views, see my blog on outsourcing and SOA from late 2006.)
SOA skills appear to be hard to come by for companies in many industries, according to IBM research released last summer. Half of companies surveyed by IBM reported having less than 25 percent of the needed SOA skills to meet long-term business goals. The majority of them, 60 percent, planned to address this shortfall by retraining existing staff to boost SOA expertise.
Interestingly, an analyst from Celent thinks the Claymore numbers may indicate a reallocation of resources -- from low-ranking, process-oriented jobs to more strategic IT positions -- rather than a net gain of IT staff in banking.