If you're part of the IT work force in the U.S., no doubt the aftershock of layoffs following the earthquake still shaking the industry has touched you or someone you know. While the tremors are not over, the fact remains there are still far more jobs in the IT work force than there are qualified professionals to fill them. The catch, however, depends on where in the world you're situated as you read this issue.
In most leading nations in the IT arena, staffing problems focus more on retaining qualified workers than on having to let them go following a dot-com meltdown. These nations, along with many developing countries, produce highly trained and dedicated IT professionals, all too many of whom are quick to move abroad to work, especially to the U.S., where salaries tend to be much higher and opportunities more attractive (see previous paragraph).
A working balance is possible. Indeed, it may already be on the horizon. But in order to get there, be sure that compromises need to be made, obstacles need to be overcome, minds need to be opened, and tired practices need to be reevaluated.
This month's special section applies a global perspective on the IT work force. The authors represent a truly international mix, offering timely accounts of the latest employment opportunities in their regions; the challenges of attracting and retaining qualified employees and the academics who teach them; the formidable task of recruiting women and minorities into the IT field; and the ramifications of international migration. Our deepest appreciation to Guest Editors David Arnold and Fred Niederman for orchestrating this section, taking great pains to ensure its worldwide scope.
This section is a valuable resource for all IT professionalswhether active or (temporarily) inactive, CEOs or CS students, practitioners, managers, researchers, or academics. Despite the recent blows, the IT profession still offers countless opportunities. We hope the information within this issue makes the rest of your own trip down this fruitful road a little less bumpy.
Also, let me point you to page 14 where ACM CEO John White announces the opening of the ACM Portal, which now includes an enhanced version of the ACM Digital Library, along with an extended bibliographic database of over 250,000 citations to core works in computing.
©2001 ACM 0002-0782/01/0700 $5.00
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