'Help wanted' in a sizzling sector

Enough with this "revenge of the nerds" rhetoric.

Information-technology pros - young Shaquille O'Neals of the New Economy - now dominate the job-hunting game.

They're first-round draft picks.

Deservedly so? Well, when the so-called "love bug" virus ran amok in our offices, we didn't turn to upper management. Instead, we took enough anxious walks to the "help desk" to wear a groove in the floor.

And we tech-crossed workers aren't the only ones clamoring for IT assistance. Companies in New England and the mid-Atlantic states, followed by the West Coast, will be hiring the most IT workers in the coming months, says Computerworld magazine.

IT workers should feel cool. They're in ever hotter demand.

Against a backdrop of record-low unemployment, a worldwide shortage of IT workers - already at more than 1 million - will only get worse, according to a recent report by International Data Corporation (IDC).

Europe and Asia will face a shortfall of 2 million IT workers by 2002, says the report, which adds that the United States will be combing through tangles of wiring to fill its own 850,000-IT-worker shortage that year.

What does this "geek gap," as it's been called, mean for business? Render unto them their pro-athlete-scale salaries, for one thing. Also: Get better at training staff and recruiting new talent.

That means looking beyond technical schools - and foreign lands. Businesses have been overlooking many potential home-grown heroes. As today's lead story explains, some minority groups have been largely left out of the IT mix. Efforts are finally under way to bring them in.

* Reach us at work@csps.com

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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