A worldwide shortage of IT workers

STR/AFP/Getty Images InformationWeek reported today that hourly wages of IT professionals have hit their highest levels since 2001. A study of wage levels found that the average hourly wage of IT workers rose 5.5 percent from the first quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2007. Technical consultants are riding highest, pulling down an ...

STR/AFP/Getty Images

InformationWeek reported today that hourly wages of IT professionals have hit their highest levels since 2001. A study of wage levels found that the average hourly wage of IT workers rose 5.5 percent from the first quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2007. Technical consultants are riding highest, pulling down an average of $83.72 per hour.

So what's behind the sudden jump in wages? "There's an unprecedented customer demand and not enough people," says Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing at Yoh, the IT staffing firm that conducted the study.

STR/AFP/Getty Images

InformationWeek reported today that hourly wages of IT professionals have hit their highest levels since 2001. A study of wage levels found that the average hourly wage of IT workers rose 5.5 percent from the first quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2007. Technical consultants are riding highest, pulling down an average of $83.72 per hour.

So what’s behind the sudden jump in wages? “There’s an unprecedented customer demand and not enough people,” says Jim Lanzalotto, vice president of strategy and marketing at Yoh, the IT staffing firm that conducted the study.

But it’s not only in the United States that demand for quality professionals in the IT field is beginning to outstrip supply, pushing up the price of labor. The salaries of IT workers from Central Europe to India to China have been rising—often by double-digits—every year. In India, around 1.3 million people applied to Infosys, India’s IT behemoth, yet fewer than 2 percent were actually employable. The same is true for engineering, where only around one quarter of the 400,000 new engineers produced every year in India are ready to enter the real “job world.” Could it be only a matter of time before outsourcing starts to look less than lucrative?

Prerna Mankad is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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