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Upgrading Environments

A combination of increased confidence in the economy, a move to bring outsourced facilities back to the UK, a need to upgrade IT systems and a range of new technologies, such as virtualisation and the cloud, have created substantial new demand for IT infrastructure professionals.

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The positive environment crosses both permanent and contractor positions, for varying reasons. In contrast to the previous three or four years, where companies held off recruiting permanent infrastructure staff due to insecurity over budgets, there is now a drive to increase full-time employees, sometimes at the expense of contractors. However, there is no overall reduction of demand as many businesses are investing in new projects and hiring contractors with specialist skills to deliver them.

The qualities now demanded of infrastructure candidates have changed over the last year; companies expect permanent employees to be involved in different areas of a business, whereas contractors are more valued for their specific expertise in niche areas such as virtualisation. Professionals without virtualisation experience are now at a disadvantage in the employment market as more and more businesses are virtualising their estates and operating ‘thin client’ networks.

All professionals are expected to be more business facing and to interact with stakeholders in a way they can understand, rather than speaking in technical jargon. A growing partnership between the business side of a company and its IT infrastructure staff will remain a trend throughout 2014. There is a continued and growing appetite for ‘service-led’ candidates, whether as desk staff, delivery managers or operational managers, who can interact with the business rather than stay in the back office.

Candidates with specialist infrastructure experience now commonly receive two or three job offers, which is bound to lead to increased rates for contractors and increased salaries for permanent employees. To attract them, good training opportunities are now being offered more often, on top of rising salaries.

The shift to re-integrate formerly outsourced facilities into the UK has come from some dissatisfaction with the performance of overseas shared service centres, together with a drive to monitor and control how datacentres operate. The ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) framework is becoming an industry standard. For employees, this presents an opportunity to become more involved in business decision making and to push IT infrastructure forward as a business driver.

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