IT security professionals in demand in 2006

Unprecedented demand for IT security professionals has employers fighting to retain talent.

This is particularly true for Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP), according to the latest market trends report from Ambition.

In fact, certified IT workers are in such high demand that some employers have stopped including them in staff development programs fearing they will be better prepared to walk out the door, Ambition technology director Jane Bianchini said.

This demand, which has dominated 2005 recruiting, will continue in 2006.

Bianchini said organizations' use of data for competitive advantage has driven demand, along with compliance and governance.

"I think with the amount of information now being extracted from data, intellectual property (IP) is starting to become quite important. Organizations want to protect IP so there is more of an awareness of data protection," she said.

"Organizations are using data to extract key decisions about the marketplace and it is critical there are no leaks.

"While companies want to retain the necessary talent to protect IP, they are not always willing to pay the salaries being sought by IT security professionals. This has led to workaround solutions, but the employment market is not yielding to the pressure."

According to Bianchini, salary increases across the board were few and far between. Contractor roles have shown little increase in salary (about 0.5 percent) but project managers have seen their salaries increase 16 percent.

Other skills in high demand are .Net and Java and J2EE.

Bianchini said the demand for specialized database administrators in the banking and finance world is comparable with the shortages in .Net, java and J2EE.

"Organizations are hiring multiples of Java developers because of this shortfall and it is all driven by the evolution of CRM systems to a Web-enabled front-end and business process re-engineering ... the market now is caught between the latter two stages," she added.