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US IT sector in good shape

Good news for IT employees, from frontline staff up to CIOs: Salaries are on the rise, businesses are spending more money on training, and IT budgets continue to increase.

Those results come from the 34th annual SIM IT Trends Study for 2013. The Society for Information Management (SIM) study is a based on a survey of 650 of the organization's members, with three-quarters of respondents saying they're the highest-ranking IT person inside their organization.

"It's a good time to be a geek: Salaries are increasing, money going to training is increasing -- which is typically a sign of employers trying to keep their IT people -- and we see turnover increasing, which is typically a sign of a healthy IT job market," Leon Kappelman, a professor at the College of Business at the University of North Texas who focuses on IT management issues, told us over the phone.

"I see it in my kids getting jobs at 22, 23 years old, at $65,000 per year, with a $4,000 to $5,000 signing bonus, and getting two to three job offers," said Kappelman, who led the SIM study. "IT contract shops -- business is really good for them, too. All those things tell me that it's a good time to be in the IT job market."

Bolstering that finding is the fact that 20% of IT leaders told SIM that a skills shortage keeps them awake at night.

The SIM study's findings square with a recent survey, conducted by staffing firm TEKsystems, which found that a majority of CIOs expect to see IT budgets and IT employees' salaries rise in 2014.

Beyond better job prospects for IT newcomers, the SIM study also found multiple signs that CIOs are succeeding in doing what business executives have long demanded: bringing more of a business focus to IT operations. For starters, 45% of CIOs now report to the CEO, 27% to the CFO, and 9% to a business unit executive. Continuing a downward trend, only 14% now report to the COO.

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