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Saving Money Key to Getting Raises

Suggesting money-saving technology solutions is the biggest driver to advance in medium and large storage companies, according to a survey by storage software company MonoSphere. Some 60 percent of IT leaders—from managers to CIOs—identified championing technology that frees up money for other projects as having the biggest impact on employee success. Championing technology that automates mission-critical processes for the company was acknowledged as having the second biggest impact.


"As the year ends, we wanted to take a close look at what would help storage professionals advance in their careers, and we noticed that embracing new technologies that save the company millions of dollars in hardware costs and automate current processes topped the list," said Frank Kettenstock, vice president of marketing at MonoSphere.


Storage professionals are generally happy in their current roles, with 77 percent saying they like or love their jobs. The survey shows that it normally takes five to seven years of experience before employees are promoted to management. The survey included 112 respondents, with the majority of them working at the same company for three to five years.

Partnership for IT Students Developed

BMC Software and Republic Polytechnic have developed an academic program that will allow IT Service Management students to earn certifications while working in a data center. Students will use BMC Software's Remedy Service Management applications in Republic Polytechnic's new ITSM Practice Laboratory to measure and maintain IT service levels, as well as discover, understand, model, respond, and track IT system problems and business service failures. The program provides scenarios for students to directly experience how IT can be continually managed and coordinated to provide better service and support to the business.


As part of the program, students will be introduced to IT best practices, such as the IT Infrastructure Library and BMC's Business Service Management approach. BMC solutions are based on ITIL best practices, a growing discipline in Singapore and around the globe. Fueled by the increasing business demand on IT to provide better support for businesses and organizations, ITIL provides best practice guidelines to create an efficient and service-oriented IT infrastructure.

IT and Business Need Better Alignment

Although IT executives from large companies are striving for better alignment between IT spending and business goals, only half believe they've actually achieved that goal, according to a survey by IT management software company CA. Nearly three-quarters of the 300 CIOs and top IT executives that the former Computer Associates polled indicated that better prioritization of IT spending based on business needs is a critical IT management goal. Half of the respondents worldwide indicate that their companies are effective in letting IT set priorities based on business goals. Respondents in the UK, Germany, Australia, and Japan were significantly more likely than those in the US to rate their organizations as successful in this area.


"As information technology becomes an increasingly predominant factor in the top- and bottom-line performance of the business, IT executives will have to focus more and more on the wise investment of their finite resources," stated Sarah Meyer, director of business service management at CA. According to the survey, U.S. IT executives were also more likely to be dissatisfied with their organizations' performance in improving service to end users, controlling costs, and other goals than their counterparts overseas. However, US respondents were more likely than those in other regions to be satisfied with their deployment of automation and virtualization initiatives.

Sogeti Plans Hiring Spree

Sogeti USA has announced plans to recruit 200 graduates from computer science and management information systems programs this winter. The Dayton, Ohio-based IT solutions and services provider said it's looking for candidates who possess a broad set of technical skills, and who can learn quickly and adapt to the latest technology and business situations. The company operates a boot camp program to help students transition to the business world, and offers more than 2,000 courses through its e-learning site. Current openings are listed at www.us.sogeti.com/careers.

Telecommuting Has Beneficial Effects

Telecommuting improves employees' sense of autonomy and reduces work-family conflicts, according to a University of Pennsylvania study, however if extended for more than half of the workweek, it can affect employees' relations with coworkers. Ravi S. Gajendran and David A. Harrison drew those conclusions from performance of a meta-analysis of 46 studies in natural settings involving 12,883 employees. Their results were published in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.


The researchers found that low-intensity telecommuting had no detrimental effects on the quality of workplace relationships. It had beneficial effects, however, on job satisfaction, performance, turnover intent, and stress. Gajendran and Harrison noted that most current work arrangements still bear the imprint of the Industrial Revolution, requiring employees to transact their time, rather than their products, with employing firms. However, the information revolution has forced employers to unbind time and place, and digital technologies have allowed for distributed employees working from remote locations.

Tech Execs Needed to Fill 2008 Hot Jobs

Social networking, wireless innovation, and the strength of established tech players are expected to drive demand for technology executives in 2008. Of the 30 hot jobs making CTPartners' annual list, more than half are in the technology arena.


CTPartners sees much global opportunity in social networking, especially for executives who know how to monetize the Internet. The demand ranges from ad sales and brokering to technology development and safety experts to protect identity and content. The hottest job titles in social networking are vice president of community, chief revenue officer, head of digital media, head of Internet advertising sales, head of advanced new-media technology, and president of international online initiatives.


The strength of Apple, Google, and Microsoft and the hedge innovation provides in an uncertain economy create continuing demand for well-entrenched titles such as data security manager, executive vice president of engineering, and CTO. CTPartners also foresees demand for safety and data security managers, open source development managers, and CEOs in the life sciences.


Furthermore, the advent of WiMax and the blurring of the lines between media, telecom, and the Internet are creating executive opportunities in the wireless arena, according to the executive search firm's annual list.

Gartner Weighs in on IT Industry

Although 2007 will be a milestone year for the IT industry, Gartner executives warned managers to prepare for slowing growth in the year ahead. Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president and global head of research, advised IT managers at the firm's Symposium ITxpo to prepare two budgets: one that allows for growth levels similar to those experienced during the past six years and another that includes cost cuts in response to a possible recession. Gartner analysts forecast that 2007 worldwide IT spending will surpass US $3 trillion, up 8 percent from 2006. However, a modest 5.5 percent growth rate is forecast for 2008. Developing countries will likely experience higher growth rates. According to Gartner, one-third of IT spending now occurs outside of North America, Western Europe, and Japan.

Going Mobile Presents Security Concern

With laptops and handhelds an increasingly vital tool in the workplace arsenal, IT workers are facing new security challenges. However, companies have been slow to address those challenges. The Computing Technology Industry Assn. surveyed more than 1,000 organizations and found that 80 percent allow data access by remote or mobile employees, but only 32 percent have implemented security awareness training for their mobile workers and just 10 percent plan to offer such training over the next year.


"The increasing pervasiveness of remote access to confidential data and applications by mobile employees, and the implementation of wireless networks, are raising the stakes for corporate IT departments," stated John Venator, the association's CEO.

Many Firms Don't Value Work/Life Balance

There's a continued disconnect between employers and employers when it comes to maintaining a work/life balance. While 89 percent of employees say that flextime and telecommuting are key aspects when evaluating a new job, only about half of human resources professionals deem work/life balance an important initiative, according to Monster's 2007 survey.


And an improvement in the popularity of work/life balance doesn't seem in the cards. More than half of employees say their employers encourage them to work too much, and only 29 percent view their employers' work/life balance initiatives as good or excellent. Further, slightly more than half of HR professionals foresee work/life balance initiatives improving in the future.

Scorecard: Women Scarce in Computer Science

The National Center for Women & Information Technology's latest scorecard finds shrinking female participation in computer science, leaving companies with a declining pool of qualified professionals. The center's scorecard notes that women hold more than half of professional positions in the US workforce overall, but fewer than 22 percent of software engineering positions. In addition, girls comprise less than 15 percent of Advanced Placement computer-science exam takers, the lowest among all AP disciplines. As of 2006, only 21 percent of computer-science bachelor's degrees went to women.


The center, a coalition of more than 100 companies, universities, government agencies, and nonprofits, compiles its scorecard biannually, based on metrics on female participation in IT at every level. The scorecard attributes women's lack of awareness and understanding of computer science, as well as its perceived difficulty, for them not pursing computer science as a career option.

Report Challenges US Math Rankings

The Urban Institute is taking issue with the widely held impression that American students hold the world's lowest scores for math and science. In their new report, "Into the Eye of the Storm: Assessing the Evidence on Science and Engineering Education, Quality, and Workforce Demand," Harold Salzman and Lindsey Lowell analyzed international test data and domestic workforce statistics.


The researchers blame statistically insignificant test score variations for the oft-cited standings produced by two previous evaluations—the "Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study" and the "Programme for International Student Assessment." In evaluating the strength of the US high-technology workforce, Salzman and Lowell found that American universities granted 435,00 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees between 1985 and 2000, triple the net growth in science and engineering jobs during that same period.

Companies Recognized for Best Practices

Frost & Sullivan recently singled out 16 companies for encouraging growth in their industries, identifying emerging trends, and creating advanced technologies expected to catalyze industries. The companies named include biotech firm Aptilon, AT&T, Comcast Cable, Ditech Networks, DVDPlay, EdenTree Technologies, LenSec, McAfee, New Edge Networks, Redback Networks, Softpro, SMS Technologies, Teleperformance, VFA, Voice Print International, and Websense.

Quarterly Wage Index Up a Notch

Third-quarter hourly wages for high-tech workers rose nearly 6 percent from the year-ago quarter, and only slightly trailed the record increases experienced during the first three months of this year, according to the Yoh Index of Technology Wages, which Fortune 500 companies use to set wages. Based on the firm's conversations with 9,000 hiring managers in 15 metropolitan areas, Oracle database administrators, Java developers, firmware and embedded engineers, .Net developers, SAP consultants, and project managers were among the 10 skills in greatest demand.

US Tech Industry Adds More Jobs

The US high-tech industry continues to add jobs, with hiring this year reaching its highest level since 2002. According to the American Electronics Association, the industry added 118,500 net jobs between January and June, slightly below the 143,000 jobs added during the first six months of 2006. Within the high-tech services sector, employment growth was led by engineering and tech services (52,600 jobs), followed by software services (51,100 jobs), and communication services (12,900 jobs). Within high-tech manufacturing, the defense electronics, computer and peripheral equipment, semiconductors, measuring and control instruments, and communications equipment sectors all added jobs, while the electronic components sector lost jobs, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics data the association compiled.

States Wary of IT Worker Retirements

States are worried about their ability to replace the large number of senior state IT employees that are eligible for retirement. According to a survey by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, 27 percent of state IT workers will be eligible for retirement in the next five years. State officials are already dealing with a decline in applicants for open positions and a widespread difficulty in recruiting IT talent. Benefits packages continue to be a primary driver behind enticing new employees to work for state governments, while salaries present a recruitment impediment.

Merrill Lynch Plans New Technology Center

Merrill Lynch plans to hire several hundred workers for its new technology center in Toronto. The financial-services company operates similar centers in Ireland, Singapore, the UK, and the US. The Toronto center will house operations for Merrill Lynch's global data management, business intelligence, risk and analytics, and financial futures and options divisions. The company selected Toronto, in part, because of the availability of highly skilled technical workers in the area.

New York Deemed Hiring Hotspot

The New York metropolitan area is the nation's largest center of high-technology employment, employing close to 620,000 people in tech jobs, according to a new study released by the Industrial and Technology Assistance Corp. The study found that New York City had an estimated 226,000 high-technology jobs, including many in the financial services, higher education, media, and healthcare fields that were previously uncounted. Overall, the New York City technology sector generated US$12.5 billion in earnings, with average annual salaries of $75,458, roughly 21 percent above the average private employer earnings of $62,545. The study found that in 2004, the New York area had nearly three times as many jobs in high-technology industries as Silicon Valley and almost twice as many as the Boston area.

Online Apps Less Popular in Asia-Pacific

Top public companies in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia fail to effectively use Web recruiting to capture talent, according to a recent report by Taleo, a US talent management provider. The company's white paper on the subject found that a majority of company Web sites contained career sections, but only 19 percent of Hong Kong companies and 38 percent of Singaporean companies offered full online application systems on their career pages. Some 72 percent of Australian companies offer online applications.

Indian Outsourcer Hiring US Workers

Indian outsourcer Wipro Technologies is opening a global software development center in Atlanta and hiring US workers. The new center is part of Wipro's plan to recruit skilled US workers to provide local service for the company's expanding technology services business in North America. "The work we're doing requires more and more knowledge of the customers' businesses, and you want local people to do that," P.R Chandrasekar, president of Wipro Technologies, said in a statement. Wipro chose Atlanta because of the region's technical talent pool. The company plans to hire 200 workers during the first year and employ 500 within three years. Wipro will also set up a training center in Atlanta to provide both technical and soft-skills training to its employees in Georgia, and plans to sponsor higher-education degrees for up to 40 percent of its employees for training and development.

 

Today's Job Candidates Well-Equipped

Employers think today's job candidates are better equipped to join the workforce, although three out of four agreed that additional skills training and certificate classes are needed, according to a survey that American InterContinental University conducted. Some 90 percent of respondents indicated satisfaction with their new employees' level and quality of education, while 91 percent indicated that new hires could make a significant contribution to the organization immediately. One in three employers see new hires as more qualified than candidates were five years ago.

 

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