What happens to tech jobs if Congress and the President fail to agree on a deficit-reduction plan and drive off the so-called “Fiscal Cliff?” Unless you’ve been hiding out somewhere, you know that would lead to sequestration kicking in as soon as January. The one thing everyone agrees on is that won’t be good.
Sequestration means that across-the-board spending cuts will be triggered. The exact amount of those cuts isn’t entirely clear, but some estimates place them at about $1.2 trillion over a 10-year period. On top of those cuts, tax increases are set to kick in.
How will this impact your job. Here are the five most likely impacts.
- Somewhere between 1.5 million and 2 million people overall will lose their jobs. That’s a rough estimate based upon every billion dollars being worth 12,000 – 14,000 positions.
- A relatively high percentage of these lost jobs will be in IT, especially in the defense sector. Many tech workers are contractors, and the Department of Defense will have accelerate its already aggressive reductions in its contract workforce to deal with cuts.
- Science and research budgets will plummet. This will occur across the federal government, and will also affect academia through cuts to education. Last year, the Small Business Innovation Research program was barely reauthorized, an example of the type of R&D program that won’t survive sequestration.
- Cutbacks to core federal operations are also likely to lead to a drop in both consumer and investor confidence. This could directly impact hiring as well on the entire economy. A recent 312-point stock market drop is evidence that investors are getting nervous.
- Finally, cuts are bound to impact educational opportunities for those who want to enhance their technology skills, as well as for those who are already out of work and have been looking for new jobs. The cuts will affect all levels of education, from high schools to job retraining centers.
Regardless of who you voted for, I’m betting that few of you were voting for sequestration. More than most, IT has a critical connection to government and education and if our political leaders take use over the cliff we, again more than most, are going to feel the pain.
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