This feature first appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Certification Magazine. Click here to get your own print or digital copy.
The drumbeat that you hear most often in predictive assessments of the global IT workplace is that there's a worker supply problem. The belief that more people are needed as quickly as they can be found crosses all branches of IT, but is especially strong in foundational disciplines like security — and networking.
It's interesting, in that light, that our survey indicates an urgent undercurrent of unemployment angst, including among those who, it would seem, already have pretty good jobs. Exactly 90 percent of those we surveyed are employed full-time, with just 3.4 percent out of work. (The rest are mostly part-timers and students.)
Half of those surveyed have been with their present employer for at least three years, and 53 percent have been employed in the networking realm for at least five years.
Yet 67 percent of survey respondents are either concerned (31 percent) or very concerned (36.8 percent) about the availability of jobs, while 63 percent are either concerned (31.9 percent) or very concerned (32 percent) about job security.
If there is bad news on the employment horizon, then it would seem that many of those surveyed are suitably equipped to bounce back. Most are young, either between the ages of 25 and 34 (53.6 percent), 35 and 44 (24.8 percent), or 19 and 24 (10.1 percent). And nearly all have a strong footing in higher education, with 80 percent having climbed the educational ladder high enough to stand on the rung of either an associate's degree (8.9 percent), bachelor's degree (51.7 percent) or master's degree (19.9 percent).
As is consistently the case in IT, it would seem that the networking realm is mostly male: 93.8 of those we surveyed are men. On the other hand, 70 percent of the women who responded are age 34 or younger. The high concentration of youth may indicate that larger numbers of women are entering the IT workforce than in generations past — a positive trend if true.
There's a strong core of survey respondents (33.2 percent) whose normal work week is 40 hours, but the largest single body of respondents (38 percent) puts in between 41 and 50 hours per week. A notable 10.6 percent work more than 50 hours per week, so there are certainly some overloaded work schedules out there.
Reflecting the reality that computer networks are everywhere, networking employment is by no means exclusive to large companies, though mega-employers do claim a considerable share of the available talent. Roughly 22 percent of those surveyed have more than 10,000 coworkers, while an additional 20 percent work at firms where the total headcount falls between 5,001 and 10,000 (7.1 percent), or between 1,001 and 5,000 (13.6 percent).
The rest are scattered across the mid-size and small business spectrum, with a particularly notable group (15.2 percent) employed at firms with between 51 and 200 employees.
Per the norm, we also asked survey respondents to sound off about a range of topics not directly connected — not connected at all, really — to networking. That's how we know, for example, that roughly 18 percent of all networking professionals downloaded the free Pokemon GO app and played for a few days before losing interest. Keep an eye on CertMag.com to find out how others responded, as well as glean additional insight on other survey matters both wacky and weighty.