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No sooner had I published my column yesterday about soaring IT employment in June when I received a news release from CareerBuilder.com with welcome news for anyone seeking an IT position in coming months.

According to the job-finding site, 35 percent of IT employers are planning to boost their ranks of full-time employees between now and December. The closest any other industry came was healthcare, at 26 percent, and sales (excluding IT), at 25.9 percent. Not surprisingly, people will keep getting sick, and to quote one of my favorite songwriters, “There’s still something we can sell.”

CareerBuilder also reports that 45 percent of IT employers have open positions for which they cannot find qualified talent. It’s that old skills-shortage problem again.

And this comes on the same day the government was talking about a major bank bailout and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sounded more pessimistic about the economy than ever.

So what’s going on here? According to CareerBuilder CTO Eric Presley – I know, I did a double-take, too – explains it thusly:

“The pervasiveness of and reliance√ʬĬ® upon technology continues to escalate, and the amount of graduates in IT is√ʬĬ® trailing behind the demand for their knowledge and expertise.”

Last week, I wrote a column arguing that education is fundamental to addressing the chronic skills shortage in IT. Yeah, I know, it’s an obvious statement that tends to induce a fair number of sneers. Sneer if you must, but if we had done a better job all along in this regard, the problem wouldn’t be as bad.

The industry needs to do more to work with high schools and colleges to prepare students for tech positions. When you have employers unable to fill positions with qualified candidates while the overall economy is tanking, I’d say that’s pretty clear proof we are doing a poor job of education in this country.

The√ʬĬ®CareerBuilder.com Midyear Employment Forecast, conducted from May 22 √ʬĬ®through June 13, also reported that 31 percent of IT employers are hanging on to workers who “may not be performing at optimal levels to keep desks occupied.”

Some employers are finding they have to boost salaries to attract on-demand employees, which of course is good for qualified jobseekers. About 24 percent of IT hiring √ʬĬ®managers say the average salary will increase 5 percent or more in the√ʬĬ®second half of 2008 compared to the first half.