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SAP pros fight for few good jobs

A recent story in a Texas newspaper stating that SAP professionals were being recruited for jobs paying $1 million annually was a tale that straight shooters could see was a con. The SAP job market is dry as a desert, and the only hope on the immediate horizon is the number of necessary upgrades underway.

SAP programmer Hugh McKay has been struggling to get a job for the last six months, since he finished a contract...

for Florida Power & Light in Juno Beach, Fla.

McKay, a South African citizen with permanent U.S. resident status, is an ABAP developer. His skills have resulted in a spate of consulting jobs since he arrived in the United States with his wife in 1998.

Now his career, just like IT spending, has ground to a halt.

"There are very few jobs out there that are posted on any job board," McKay said. The jobs that do appear on job boards "require very specific skills or will only consider local candidates."

Those jobs are being outsourced, according to Stamford Conn.-based Gartner Inc., which claims that one in 20 IT jobs will be lost to outsourcing by the end of 2004.

Jon Reed, managing editor of and a site expert, said there is still a need for senior-level experts in niche areas across the SAP product line.

"Companies are doing very targeted projects right now," Reed said.

Those programmers with 4.6C experience are the most needed, as the pressure on companies to upgrade increases this year. SAP Business Warehouse jobs are also picking up slightly, Reed said.

Still, finding and landing an SAP job at a company is extremely frustrating for those programmers used to finding high-paying work quickly.

In Dallas, SAP job seekers had their hopes raised by a story that appeared recently on a Dallas Morning News job Web site. In that story, job recruiter Mark Rednick of Sales Consultants Inc. was described as seeking 40 SAP professionals to fill openings in Texas.

Sales Consultants had programming job openings that could generate an income of $1 million annually, according to the story. The company declined to comment when contacted by

"This is the kind of stuff you read in the industry press at the peak of the IT market," Reed said. "This looks like someone filling high-level executive positions that have really little to do with SAP."

What SAP job seekers need to do is a lot of networking, Reed said. One place to make new connections is at SAP training and certification classes. For those looking at less costly ideas, Reed suggested reading books about SAP, attending webinars, and learning about the latest trends online.

"It's your job once you've landed the interview to impress them and [make them] think you've got the cutting-edge know-how," he said. "I'm not going to sit here and say this is easy to do, but I think that if you don't take your self-education really seriously, you won't get anywhere in this environment."


Check out the Featured Topic on Crash Course: SAP careers.

To provide your feedback on this article, contact Robert Westervelt.

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