ITers must become e-people

E-skills are becoming more sought after, with 60% of capacity-planning jobs now requiring e-expertise. Nicholas Enticknap reports...

E-skills are becoming more sought after, with 60% of capacity-planning jobs now requiring e-expertise. Nicholas Enticknap reports on the findings of the latest SSP/Computer Weekly quarterly survey of IT salaries and trends.

It is becoming ever more important for IT professionals to acquire e-skills to advance their career prospects.

A year ago, one in 10 of all IT jobs advertised involved working in the Internet world or on e-commerce applications. But over the past three months, the proportion was more than one in three, and the trend is upwards, according to the SSP/Computer Weekly Quarterly Survey of Salaries and Trends for e-People in IT.

The survey found that nearly 8,000 jobs advertised in the trade press and quality national newspapers required one or more Internet-related skills, out of 21,000 IT jobs on offer in total.

Of the e-jobs offered over the last quarter, one in 10 were for Internet specialists such as Web administrators, designers and authors. The rest carried familiar mainstream job titles. For example, over two thirds of system developer positions and just under half of programming positions required one or more Internet-related skills. This suggests that e-application development is already quite common.

However, running Internet-related networks is taking off more slowly. Among networking positions, the proportion of e-jobs is just 12%, although there has been a rapid increase in demand - there are six times more e-jobs in the sector than a year ago.

Working out how to cater for e-business growth is becoming a major challenge, with 60% of capacity planning jobs requiring Internet expertise. System auditors are also increasingly being required to show familiarity with the Internet world - one third of all such jobs now specify e-expertise, whereas a year ago there were only two jobs in total.

Demand for e-development is greatest in the publishing and media sector, where well over half of all IT jobs advertised are e-jobs. This is a fairly small proportion of the total market, accounting for 330 e-jobs out of 7,800 advertised over the three months.

Quantitively, the greatest demand comes from software houses. These accounted for 4,400 jobs available during the quarter - just over half of all jobs advertised by the sector.

The engineering sector is the least enthusiastic about the e-world, with only 16 posts advertised requiring Internet expertise. Other sectors where e-business is taking off slowly include utilities and the public sector, where less than one in five of all IT jobs are e-jobs.

In the case of utilities, the proportion of e-jobs is just 15%, but the growth rate is significant - the sector advertised 25 e-jobs compared to just one a year ago.

Regionally, a job is most likely to require e-expertise in London - just under a half of all IT jobs advertised in the capital are e-jobs. In all other regions the proportion is about one third.

Salaries for e-jobs are generally slightly higher than for traditional IT jobs. But IT professionals cannot expect an increase in salary that would compensate them for acquiring new expertise.

System developers, for example, typically get offered just 1% more, while the going rate for programmers is almost exactly the same.

IT sites are, however, offering significantly more to networking specialists, typically about 10% extra. Comms/networking engineers/analysts can expect to do much better. Senior positions offer salaries over £5,000 a year higher, and junior positions £4,000 more.

Managers can also expect to earn more in an e-environment, with salaries offered over the past three months standing at 7%-10% above the average for each post. System administrators also typically get about 7% more.

Overall, salaries for e-jobs rose by an average of 6% over the past year, rather more than the 4% average for all IT jobs over the quarter. The rise in Internet-related pay is well above both the 3.9% average earnings inflation across the whole of UK industry, and the 3.3% RPI inflation over the year to September.

The shape of the e-skills league table is largely determined by the software houses, which account for more than half of the demand for each of the top 10 skills.

The table is headed by Java, which is currently the number one skill across all jobs. Of the other e-skills, generic Internet expertise is second, HTML is fourth, XML seventh, Corba 13th and Wap 15th.

C++ is the highest of the pre-Internet world skills in the table at number three. Nearly 2,000, or 60%, of all C++ jobs were also looking for some Internet-related expertise.

Other skills in the top 20 associated were SQL (fifth), Visual Basic (sixth), object-oriented programming (12th) and Delphi (16th).

Skills that are rarely required in Internet environments include Office (in just 15 of cases) and Sap (18%).

The survey also found significant differences in the skills required by the different industry sectors.

Communications companies account for nearly a third of all Corba jobs, and over one third of all Wap jobs. Neither of these skills features in the top 10 of any other industry sector. The communications sector is also the most advanced in the adoption of XML (fourth in the table), and is the only one where HTML does not feature in the top 10.

The publishing and media sector is the most advanced adopter of Internet-related technology, and is, significantly, the only sector where neither Windows NT nor Unix feature in the top 10 skills. However, Sun's Solaris does feature (at number eight) - perhaps reflecting the popularity of Sun servers for Web applications.

Average salaries offered for e-jobs and all IT jobs

Job Title Average Salary offered Average Salary offered Change (%)
  for e-jobs for all IT jobs  
Management/systems consultant £73,067 £71,773 +2
IT manager £61,741 £57,343 +8
Systems analyst £29,364 £28,598 +3
Programmer £24,459 £24,559 =
Analyst/programmer £27,537 £27,310 +1
Systems developer £32,478 £32,079 +1
PC support analyst £22,957 £21,955 +5
Software engineer £31,324 £29,727 +5
Network support technician £25,333 £23,354 +8

Source: SSP/Computer Weekly

Breakdown of jobs by sector

Sector e-jobs in Q3 2000 All IT jobs in Q3 2000 Proportion
Computer suppliers 100 594 17%
Software houses 4,423 8,555 52%
Comms companies 662 3,102 21%
Banking/finance 600 2,040 29%
Distribution/retail 349 931 37%
Media/publishing 335 590 57%
Manufacturing 46 160 29%
Engineering 16 272 6%
Utilities/energy 25 162 15%
Public sector 166 997 17%
All jobs 7,798 21,054 37%

Source: SSP/Computer Weekly

Breakdown of jobs by region

Region e-jobs in Q3 2000 All IT jobs in Q3 2000 Proportion
Inner London 1,580 3,402 46%
Outer London 1,284 2,947 44%
Southern England 1,975 5,818 34%
Wales & West 594 1,639 36%
Midlands & East 426 2,081 36%
Northern England 585 1,917 31%
Scotland 238 755 36%

Source: SSP/Computer Weekly

Skills required for e-jobs

  Skill e-jobs in Q3 2000 All IT jobs in Q3 2000 Proportion
1 Java 3,703 3,703 100%
2 Internet 3,075 3,075 100%
3 C++ 1,947 3,253 60%
4 HTML 1,823 1,823 100%
5 SQL 1,262 2,477 51%
6 Visual Basic 1,134 2,001 57%
7 XML 1,033 1,033 100%
8 Unix 910 2,626 35%
9 C 753 1,799 42%
10 Oracle 688 2,184 32%
11 Windows NT 657 2,203 30%
12 Object-oriented 444 801 55%
13 Corba 433 433 100%
14 TCP/IP 317 1,088 29%
15 Wap 281 281 100%
16 Delphi 202 325 62%
17 Solaris 169 443 38%
18 Windows 115 401 29%
19 GUI 100 250 40%
20 Access 96 246 39%

Source: SSP/Computer Weekly

IT jobs survey

This article is based on information contained in The SSP/Computer Weekly Quarterly Survey of Salaries and Trends for e-People in IT. This is a new companion volume to the established SSP/Computer Weekly Quarterly Survey of Appointments Data and Trends, and focuses exclusively on IT jobs requiring Internet-related expertise.

The survey analyses advertisements for computer professionals in the trade press and the quality national dailies and Sundays. It is targeted at recruitment agencies and IT managers with a hefty recruitment requirement.

The posts advertised are broken down into 44 job categories. Within each job category, the survey provides details of the number of Internet posts advertised and the average and median national salaries offered for the last quarter and for each of the previous four quarters.

The price of an annual subscription for four quarterly issues is £195.

Write to Julie McInally, Floor 12, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS

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