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The infrastructure market buoyant, with virtualisation a key driving force, but the most available skills are often not the ones in most demand.

Updated: 22 Feb 2014

The enterprise of the future will look and feel very different to the enterprise of the past, as trends driven by cloud based technologies reshape the ways in which we access and consume information technology resources.

 Click here to request your copy of our IT Salary and Benefits Guide for 2013.

During the past year or so there has been a marked increase in organisations exploring cloud management, cloud infrastructure, data centre transformation, emerging approaches to enterprise storage, network infrastructure and virtualisation – though the latter is where demand is at its most intense.

As organisations strive to minimise their costs and maximise the capacity and utilisation of their systems, delivery of IT as a service from private and hybrid clouds is spreading and those with virtualisation experience who have certified skills with VMware and Microsoft’s Hyper-V technologies are in demand. The public sector is seeing a huge investment in the cloud and virtualisation arena especially within higher education, government and the National Health Service. Although remuneration may not match the upper end of the private sector, figures suggest that public sector salaries are holding their own within the virtualisation space.

These trends are likely to continue during the year ahead, when demand is expected to grow for those skilled with enterprise software, driven mainly by CRM, security and storage management. Overall, the infrastructure market is buoyant – though some areas are more so than others. For example, a focus on cost reduction means that open source software is increasing in popularity again, so one area of infrastructure where there are some skill shortages is Linux.

Energy companies continue to thrive, as do web based organisations, which is sustaining demand for infrastructure specialists, and there are some very strong signs that recruitment within the public sector will continue to rise. The upheaval taking place across the public sector, particularly in healthcare, means that demand tends to be for infrastructure specialists to work in contract roles, while most of the demand in the private sector tends to be for permanent roles.

Candidates can improve their marketability by maximising opportunities to work with the latest technologies (especially Microsoft) and to take training courses, particularly those leading to certifications.

Salaries and benefits in infrastructure have been flat over the past year and seem set to remain so during the next year. Demand for permanent professionals remains static with a large number of available candidates on the market. This has been compounded by increasing numbers of contractors looking to move into permanent roles, as some have seen their daily rates drop. There is still, however, a relatively healthy contract market in the UK and uncertainty about the future of the economy is sustaining demand for flexible resources. Many senior contractors are reluctant to drop their rates despite downward pressure and longer than usual periods between contracts.

Infrastructure experts
are increasingly being expected to bring strong softer skills to roles – in keeping with a trend that is widespread across many specialist IT areas. IT is generally becoming more integrated with the wider business and IT professionals are taking a more business rather than technology led approach. This may give them the edge in what is, overall, an employer’s market.

 Click here to request your copy of our IT Salary and Benefits Guide for 2013.

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