A report on IT salary differentials worldwide looking at remuneration levels in 32 countries (see news story, page 4) shows that UK IT professionals are not even scraping into the top 10 across career bands from team leader to senior manager.
As long as there are countries such as India which can offer vital skills at considerably lower rates than the UK, there will continue to be strong interest by British companies in offshore outsourcing of their IT operations.
But the relatively low level of IT professionals' pay in this country in comparison to other Western nations, combined with the rich pool of expertise and experience offered by the UK IT industry, offers compelling arguments for keeping operations in this country. That is before we come to the arguments about data security in offshore outsourcing providers as laid out in the opinion piece by Kerry Davies on this page.
Offshoring will continue to be a major issue as the jobs market picks up. As UK companies seek to recruit more staff, demand for higher salaries will grow. That in itself could add to the attraction of offshore operations and will certainly focus the minds of IT directors on who and what they value in their UK staff and operations.
Although offshoring may be an effective solution to many problems, most decision makers understand that IT is not simply a matter of which geographical area offers the cheapest deal. Accordingly, the challenge for IT directors will be to attract new talent to their UK operations and to keep the best of what they already enjoy.
Money will play a key role - however exciting your technology projects, people with talent like that to be appreciated in immediate financial terms. So the IT director will need the communication skills to convince the financial and business directors of the need for realistic pay levels for IT staff.
But money is, of course, only part of the picture. The kind of people who are attracted to and flourish in a career in IT look for more. Will your company have what it takes to keep their creative juices flowing?
That means an effective package of training, innovative projects and a working ambience that breeds that most powerful of motivators - enthusiasm.
This was first published in June 2004