- A typical information and communications UStechnology (ICT) professional in the Asia-Pacific region is most likely to be male, 20 to 29 years of age, earn less than $5000 a year, and think he is not paid enough.
These were among the findings of the ICT Manpower and Skills Survey conducted by the Regional Interest Group on Professional Standards of the Southeast Asia Regional Computer Confederation (SEARCC).
Dittas Formoso, chairwoman of the SRIG-PS, told delegates to the SEARCC 2000 conference that the survey covered six areas: a profile of the organisation respondents, a demographic profile of ICT manpower, technical skills in the region, nontechnical skills in the region, training and certification-related issues, and job environment factors.
Formoso says the study defines ICT manpower as a person engaged primarily in ICT-related work for an IT supplier, telecommunications vendor, user or government organisation. He or she may work on a full-time or part-time basis; be permanent or contractual; and work locally or overseas.
The work may include development, distribution, implementation, support, and operation of telecommunications, computer hardware and software, and multimedia content.
Formoso says 2385 organisations across eight nations participated in the survey, with 9490 ICT professionals from nine countries.
Organisations that joined the survey came from India (13.5%), Indonesia (13%), Japan (20.2%), Pakistan (13.2%), Philippines (4.7%), Singapore (24.3%), Sri Lanka (8.5%), and Thailand (2.7%). Professional respondents came from India (32%), Indonesia (4.3%), Japan (12.8%), New Zealand (1.3%), Pakistan (25%), Philippines (5.5%), Singapore (10.8%), Sri Lanka (5.6%), and Thailand (2.7%).
The study says that 83.6% of the respondents were male. The Philippines had the highest concentration of female ICT professionals across the region. Of the 445 Filipino IT professionals, 59.8% were male, while 40.2% were female. On the other hand, Japan had the highest concentration of male ICT professionals. Of the 1219 that responded, 91.9% were male.
As for age, 56% of the respondents were 20 to 29 years old. India had the most number of ICT professionals in the 20-to-29 bracket (73%). On the other hand, Japan presented the highest concentration of ICT professionals (50%) aged 30 to 39 years old.
In gross annual compensation, 50.3% of the respondents earn less than $5000. The highest paid ICT professionals are in Japan and Singapore. Most of the professionals in Japan (35.6%) earn in the range of $58,000 to $87,000 annually. In Singapore, 34.9% make $17,000 to $26,000 a year.
By education level, 54.7% of the respondents have a bachelor's degree. Japan had the highest percentage of professionals with a bachelor's degree (61.6%), Pakistan had the highest percentage of ICT professionals (40.1%) with a master's degree, and Thailand presented the largest percentage of IT workers with a Ph.D (7.3%).
In terms of ICT work-related experience, the typical IT professional has had six years of work in the IT field. However, most of Japan's IT professionals have had 10 years of work experience.
Moreover, the average IT professional stays with his employer for three years. In Japan, most, if not all, stay for 10 years. ICT professionals in Pakistan, Singapore, India, and Indonesia remain with their employers for only two years and then move on to another firm. In the Philippines and Sri Lanka, ICT professionals stick with their current organisations for three years.
The top five skills which most of the ICT professionals have include application and systems development, database administration, project management, Windows NT or Novell NetWare, and network protocols and topologies.
But when asked which skills they would like to have, the respondents say internet development, e-commerce, Java, database administration, Unix, and Linux.
The skills considered most essential by organisations are internet development, e-commerce, application systems development, database administration, and network protocols and topologies.
From a regional perspective, the top five nontechnical skills that ICT professionals have are creative thinking, presentation, interpersonal skills, customer service, and strategic planning.
The nontechnical skills the ICT professionals would like to have are presentation, strategic planning, customer service, interpersonal skills, and technical and business writing.
However, the top five nontechnical skills considered most essential by organisations are marketing, strategic planning, customer service, presentation, and interpersonal skills.
"There is a mismatch between the skills ICT professionals have and the skills organisations want," says Formoso. "Organisations say marketing skills are important, but ICT professionals say that creative thinking and presentation are more important."
The most common training method used is on-the-job-training (OJT), followed by classroom teaching. In Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore, classroom training is the most common method, while in India, Japan, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, OJT is the preferred training method.
For the next two years, OJT and classroom methods will still be the preferred style. "There is a reluctance in doing web- or computer-based training," says Formoso. The most preferred method by which organisations acquire skills is to upgrade existing employees through training.
Other methods include hiring experienced people with requisite skills from other organisations; hiring and training fresh graduates; and employing foreign talent.
Some 64.5% of the organisations say they are willing to pay the premium for certified ICT professionals.
The average ICT professional in the region thinks that career advancement is the most important job-environment factor, followed by, in order of importance, achievement of targets, salary, job responsibility, and job content.
ICT professionals say that co-worker relationships is the number one factor that gives them job satisfaction. Other factors include relationships with supervisors, job responsibility, company image, and job security.