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Building up skills becomes more important than ever for salary raises

The Computerworld 31st Annual IT Salary Survey shows some new signs of worrisome. The reason – slowing rises in salaries. The solution? Keep building your skills up.

According to the survey, most respondents say they have or expect steady pay gains in 2017. Even so, many still don’t feel they receive as much as they should. While you may say that’s always going to be the case, there are other worrying signs, too.

For example, more people fear there’s a slowdown coming in IT spending and even hiring. The survey features a total of 2782 IT professionals – 55% are staff and 45% are IT managers. It shows that during 2015 and 2016 there were salary increases of 3.6% and 3.9% respectively on average. In 2017, the average jump will be around 3%. Also, there’s a lower amount of people receiving raises – 67% for 2017 in contrast to 71% in 2016.

Where opinions split is what’s going to happen. According to some, there’s a slowdown in spending coming due to the political uncertainty in both the EU and the US. Others though remain positive and expect it’s a calm before a storm and a surge will happen soon due to the vast progress of technology.

Even so, 49% expect the IT staff in the organization they work for to remain the same this year. 43% expect more new colleagues and 7% actually expect a decrease. Only 2% aren’t sure yet.

It’s all about the skills

And here’s the kicker. Among those who plan to expand their IT staffs this year, 66% said they’re mainly looking for highly skilled specialists. Another 30% said they need mostly entry-level technical workers, and just 2% said a majority of their open positions are managerial.

The survey then asked 531 IT mangers what IT skills they need the most. Leading the pack with 38% is Application Development. Second is Help desk/IT Support with 35%. Third is Security with 28%. Also, IT managers say they have tough time finding the right people. On average 37% say it takes them 3 to 6 months to fill open positions in the past two years. 15% say it takes them more than 6 months.

Long story short, the better skills you have, the easier will it be for you to find both a better job and higher salary. That’s kind of obvious, but for a while it fell back into obscurity because of the huge interest in everything IT. Even so, the time for big changes in tech approaches fast and higher and better skills will be most treasured. So, now is the time to prepare and either help your staff get proper training, if you’re an IT manager, or get your skills portfolio improved if you’re an individual.