"In overall terms, what I see is that things are pretty consistent with last year in terms of where we are now, but there's some optimism going forward here, said Maria Schafer, a senior program director of META Group's Executive Directions advisory service and author of its Compensation Guide.
"I think that what is occurring is it's difficult right now for people who are caught in the slow-to-change portion of the job market here to feel that there's a lot of positive stuff out there," she said. "But if you've got the right skills, you've got a totally different perception of what's been going on."
Fully one quarter of this year's respondents said they are not engage in any outsourcing at all compared with 37% in 2003.
Skills In Demand
As was the case last year and the year before, this year's respondents indicate a continuing need for Internet-related capabilities, including application development (15% of respondents), Java application management (15% of respondents), and networking (11% of respondents).
Demand for e-commerce skills lessened this year, with only 15% of respondents indicating a strong need, as opposed to 22% last year and 25% in 2002.
"Universities like MIT have made significant strides in maintaining a steady stream of students with these specific skills in today's workforce," said Thomas Malone, professor of management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and author of the book The Future of Work. "However, the consistency with which these skill sets are identified in META Group's study is a strong indicator that even more could be done to develop these capabilities."
Schafer points out the same skills have been in demand year-after-year and this indicates companies are doing little to address this issue long-term. India, for example, turns out over 500,000 computer-related graduates every year compared to 30,000 in the U.S.
The report also found:
This year's report is based on compensation and best-practice surveys of more than 650 large and midsize companies spanning 14 industries and over 40 geographic markets.