'Hot Skills' Premiums Tied to Better Retention

Susan Hall

Only about 20 percent of technology professionals today work in pure IT jobs, the rest work in positions work in hybrid business/IT positions in other parts of the company, according analyst David Foote, CEO of Foote Partners, in a workspan magazine article.

He writes of their work:

They're arguably doing some of the most cutting-edge work in their companies, including "new normal" business analytics and complex forecasting; creating social-media-enabled products; designing new business processes and and capabilities; redefining risk analysis, measurement and management; and delivering product and service innovations.

Yet these multi-talented folks, however, don't really fit into traditional job categories and companies risk losing them by trying to force them to, Foote says. Premium pay for hot skills has become a method to focus on skills, rather than job titles, and to adjust compensation accordingly. Premiums are added to these workers' paychecks and adjusted according to market conditions — even eliminated when a particular skill ceases to be part of the worker's job.

The compensation process can include not only specific technical knowledge, but also performance ratings, employees' process knowledge and overall value to the company. That sounds like a lot more work to ascertain these measurements, but may be required to retain high-skill workers. The context in which a skill is applied also may come into play, Foote says, with versatility leading to better pay.

With companies increasingly relying on contractors or managed-services firms for "pure" IT work, the value of certifications continues to decline, while certain noncertified skills lead to better paychecks, he says.

The article lists these as the 25 highest-paying noncertified skills:

  • 1. Information security
  • 2. (tie) SAP HANA
    • Virtualiztion
    • Predictive analytics and modeling
    • Complex-event processing
    • Infrastructure architecture
    • Oracle e-business suite/Fusion
  • 8. (tie) Risk management
    • Apache Hadoop
    • SAP NetWeaver BW/BI
    • SAP FS (insurance)
    • Security architecture and models
    • Oracle Exadata/Exalytics
    • IT governance
    • TOGAF (enterprise architecture)
    • Business process management/modeling
  • 17. (tie) SAP MDM
    • SAP IS-U (utilities)
    • SAP NetWeaver PI
    • SAP oil and gas
    • Business Objects
    • TIBCO enterprise message service
    • Unified communications/messaging
    • SAP HR-PA

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