Rising tech wages drive workforce strategy for employers

This morning, we released our quarterly Index of Technology Wages. After clearly bottoming out in Q4, wages for highly skilled technical temporary workers crept upward in Q1 as demand for these workers also increased.

Although the Index fell 3 percent from December to January, it rebounded in both February and March, leading to a first quarter performance of 110.4. The decrease earlier this year reflected the results of Bureau of Labor Statistics and payroll surveys, which attributed low demand in January on poor weather across the country.

This small, but consistent gain in the first quarter presents opportunities to implement smart employment practices that not only control labor costs, but can fuel enterprise-wide initiatives to drive growth and gain competitive advantages.

For example, as M&A activity continues to heat up, temporary workers could hedge risks by helping target companies maintain a dual track of operation if the acquisition does not materialize. In these cases, temporary employees can help to move programs forward while not adding to long-term obligations if the deal is not completed.

Business demands for organic growth are also adding to the demand for skilled labor. For example, cloud computing and application development is impacting demand, both within and outside of Silicon Valley. We're also seeing renewed strength in ERP.

Following the recession, employees are more willing than ever to consider change, and for the first time in years, many are contemplating a shift to the temporary market as a way to improve their career and income prospects. As others recognize the possibility for success here and follow suit, we'll likely see a domino effect on wage acceleration.

It's important to remember that stabilization of wages will not translate into a robust labor market immediately. At current job creation levels, it will take us eight years to replace the 8.8 million jobs lost in the U.S. during the recession. And while it's unlikely that inflation will significantly increase wages for highly skilled employees in the near term, employees are still not likely to push for wage increases. For employers, this means an opportunity to benefit from the talent of highly skilled temporary workers at attractive rates, increasing flexibility and creativity to achieve competitive advantages.

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