Employers want business-savvy IT staff, survey finds

Communication skills required from day one

A survey of 100 US companies shows IT professionals need to bone up on their business skills, as employers are looking for workers with project management, leadership and communications skills.

The results of research conducted by more then 20 members of the US Society of Information Management (SIM) show that the IT workforce may not experience a significant change in actual numbers.

“The IT workforce, including in-house, independent-contractor and third-party provider full-time equivalents (FTE) will remain basically unchanged from 2005 to 2008,” the report says.

However, IT professionals will have to evolve their skill sets to include more business-related capabilities.

“One important finding is the emphasis on business skills. There has always been a need for that, but now employers want IT workers to have industry knowledge and business skills from the start,” says Kate Kaiser, a charter member of the Wisconsin chapter of SIM. “Computer science is very technical by design, but two of the more popular areas in demand are systems analysis and systems design, both of which are customer-facing positions that require user interaction and communications skills.”

Communication was the skill cited as most lacking in entry-level hires, according to the report.

“Employers want entry-level people to have some of the skills much earlier than they used to,” Kaiser says.

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