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Gartner sees less demand for IT specialists

Companies will seek employees who are versatile enough to manage tech and business needs, researcher predicts.

Demand for IT specialists could shrink as much as 40 percent within the next five years, according to Gartner analysts who unveiled a list of key trends for 2006.

According to the market researcher, businesses will increasingly look to employ "IT versatilists," employees who not only specialize in IT but who demonstrate business smarts by handling multidisciplinary assignments.

"The long-term value of today's IT specialists will come from understanding and navigating the situations, processes and buying patterns that characterize vertical industries and cross-industry processes," Diane Morello, Gartner's research vice president, said Tuesday in a statement.

According to Gartner, a trend of transferring laptop ownership from company to employee will also emerge. By 2008, 10 percent of companies will adopt this practice: managing the use of employee-owned laptops with plans such as notebook allowances.

In addition, the analyst predicts that spending on regulatory compliance will grow at a rate twice that of IT spending.

In order to keep up with regulatory compliance requirements from the U.S. government and European Commission, businesses may be forced to dip into their discretionary IT budgets. This would leave little resources for organizations to manage initiatives key to business growth, such as exploring the use of new technology, Gartner warned.