Premium pay for both certified and non-certified skills tracked by analyst firm Foote Partners declined in the second quarter, the first quarter since September 2009 that both hit the skids. You can see a list of tracked skills here.
Said CEO and co-founder David Foote:
The difference this quarter over last is that several economic indicators are now telling us that the U.S. economic recovery has deteriorated. There is a plummeting stock market, fears of a double-dip recession, and riots in the streets of Europe. Our most recent benchmark research suggests that fear about what lies ahead was very present in the minds of private- and public-sector workforce decision-makers this past spring and early summer.
Those fears have been raising their ugly heads more than we'd like.
The analyst firm noted only one category of certifications showed gains, database skills, bolstered by three Oracle certifications. Four of eight non-certified skills showed improvement: management, methodology and process skills; messaging and communication; database skills; and SAP and enterprise business applications.
Among the certification categories taking the biggest hits: entry-level and training certifications; Web development; IT security; systems administration and engineering; applications development and programming languages; and networking certifications.
Four of eight non-certified skill categories showed declines, though smaller ones than for certifications: Web/e-commerce skills; applications development tools and platforms; systems and networking skills; and operating systems.
Foote reiterated that in many instances, IT and business skills have been combined into hybrid positions, a continuing trend he noted in his analysis of the Labor Department's July numbers. He insists there was no improvement over prior months, contrary to many reports. He also noted the continuing trend for the growth in job creation to occur with third-party service providers.
As an analyst and deep researcher in the IT work force space for 20 years, I can tell you that this looks like an all too familiar pattern to me. Yet somehow I can't quite see how the drivers for skills and talent acquisition in evidence today - as unique and compelling as they are - could crumble as they have in prior downturns. There is simply too much at stake now for businesses compared to the past; they simply cannot survive and compete without a highly skilled work force both internally and externally sourced.
In other words, the horse is out of the burning barn, and he's got nowhere to go but forward at a gallop.