Hiring Picture Not Too Bright for IT

IT workers who have been on the unemployment lines may not want to hold their breath waiting for the job market to pick up, if they believe the findings of two recent surveys. Robert Half International warns fourth-quarter hiring will be essentially flat; while a survey of nearly 150 mainly tech-oriented public companies by Christian & Timbers suggests that trend will prevail thoughout 2004.

Perhaps the most dismaying result of the Christian & Timbers survey is that as overall IT spending begins to rebound, about half of the companies interviewed acknowledge that they're understaffed in the IT department. Nonetheless, most of those firms intend to do little about it, citing economic pressures, continued tightness in corporate budgets, and the allure of outsourcing and application hosting.

A Deloitte Consulting economist suggests that offshore outsourcing will be a boon to the Stateside economy, calling detractors "the last surviving members of the flat earth society." But outsourcing may not be the panacea for the bottom line that many execs hope—at least not in IT.

Forrester Research says that business processes are inevitably too complex for outsourcers to handle, reducing the value of moving complex core operations out of house. A new Gartner study, meanwhile, worries that IT departments aren't capable of policing their outsourcers to ensure they're getting full value for their money. Taken together, these studies suggest companies may better off with skilled IT workers in-house, even as more and more of those jobs get shipped out of the country.

News source: Techweb

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