Conflicting Reports on IT Job Market’s Health

Two tech groups are reporting a slowing job market for technology professionals, but a third survey – from Robert Half Technology — reports the opposite.

Market ForecastsAccording to TechServe Alliance, an association of IT and engineering staffing and solutions firms, technology hiring grew by 3,200 jobs in November, 3,100 jobs in October and 6,100 jobs in September – a pace well off the gains posted earlier this year. “We are noticing a clear deceleration in the rate of growth,” said Mark Roberts, the Alliance’s CEO.

However, the group did note 28 months of consecutive job growth in IT. The industry now employs 4.5 million people, up 180,200 jobs this year, it said.

Meanwhile Janco Associates, which generally takes a conservative view of tech hiring, has called the IT job market “anemic.” The firm’s study looks at a smaller data set, and found only 400 IT jobs added in November, and 4,300 added over the past three months.

Based on interviews with 104 CIOs over the past two weeks, Janco says that tech executives and their companies have grown more cautious. It attributes that to lingering uncertainty about the economy and another round of government sequestration coming in January. Janco CEO Victor Janulaitis notes that states that have high numbers of IT workers – such as California, Washington and Virginia — also have big defense installations likely to be affected.

Better Views

On the other hand, a look ahead by recruiter Robert Half Technology estimates that 16 percent of U.S. CIOs plan to add to their teams in the first half of 2014, an increase of 5 percentage points from this year’s second half. For companies that operate on a calendar year, that means new budgets are in place to get new projects rolling. Fewer companies embark on new projects during the second half of the year.

Most (67 percent) will continue to fill only vacancies on their staffs, while 15 percent plan to put hiring plans on hold. Just 2 percent expect to reduce their IT staffing levels. RHT’s projections are based on interviews with more than 2,300 CIOs from 23 major U.S. markets.

“We continue to see strong demand for IT professionals across the United States,” said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Professionals with skills in mobile applications development, data analytics and networking are in especially high demand.”

Recently, Wanted Analytics said software developers were the most-sought-after IT professionals, with 232,000 jobs advertised online in the past 90 days. That’s an increase of 3 percent over the same period in 2012, and more than 120 percent from four years ago.

Robert Half found that 88 percent of CIOs are somewhat or very confident in their company’s growth prospects for the first six months of 2014, an increase of 2 percentage points from six months ago. And 69 percent were confident that their firms will invest in IT projects in the first half of 2014, a rise of 6 percentage points.

7 Responses to “Conflicting Reports on IT Job Market’s Health”

  1. The use of the word “anemic” is too soft and I would have used “Death Job Market”. I can’t comprehend the official number of 7 percent of unemployed in America. It is a complete charade, deception, and lie. Conversely, the corporate media doesn’t possess the intelligence to ask and analyze the information fed to them. I really don’t want to sound like a negative individual, but it is the reality and I know people with MBA and Bachelors with decades of experience who can’t pass the first call. Where are we heading? The answer is to a chaos !!!!

    • Glen Smith

      Seen versus unseen is why the official unemployed number is likely the major reason for a figure that is a lot lower than reality. I don’t think the official unemployment statistic here includes large numbers of mal-employed (I know there is even some debate on what that really is) either.

  2. OverqualifiedUnemployed

    Corporations are looking at productivity numbers and noticing that having fewer employees is not hurting productivity. Until productivity levels decline, they will continue to spout smokescreen excuses to disguise the fact that they will simply not hire additional staff, e.g. economic uncertainty, can’t find people with the right skill sets, etc. We’ve been hearing these reasons for a few years now. It’s hard to believe these indubitably intelligent corporate heads have yet to find any other solutions apart from freezing/slashing staffing to these issues which have been bandied about since 2008.

  3. Outsourced Sam

    So two report used the numbers and the ‘positive’ reported ‘estimated’ the future.

    It’s anemic. Ask any IT professional. The IT job market is really bad. The good news is the Senate wants to make it even more impossible to compete with another 100,000 H1Bs coming in at bargin prices. It’s easier to insource them from overseas than stay up at night and work through different time zones.

  4. Outsourced Sam

    And yes you can find work in ‘mobile’ in you want a 2 week contract making 20 bucks a hour without insurance in some remote part of the Earth. You’re better off collecting your 398 a week, free health care, housing, and food stamps than to track all over the earth not earning enough to survive.

  5. Michael McLendon

    I don’t believe the unemployment numbers and the good intentions of politicians. The US job market is more about “best price” and less about quality professionals. It is shameful that additional H1b visas are being granted due to supposedly being unable to locate qualified US workers. The real truth is that companies gravitate towards the “best price” mentality which is the cultural norm in India and certain other Asian countries.

  6. Christopher

    There are software developers making a dollar or two more than Taco Bell or McDonald’s in some parts of the country. I have known software developers and graphic artists who were on food stamps and WIC. Health insurance, bonuses, sick days, paid time off, dental insurance – they did not have any of these benefits either. Other than having weekends off, the only reason they tolerate it is because they love doing what they are doing and they prefer not to be underemployed and working in unskilled labor positions. Underpaid and poorly compensated is bad enough (Plus, add salt to the wound that is student loan debt).
    Hopefully, this is an exception and not the future norm. Otherwise, you can forget kids wanting to learn programming. Better to invest time and education dollars into business, medicine, or trades.

    And if you think it is better for other STEM grades, some of my contacts have applied for minimum wage positions and possess either engineering or bio degrees. Math? You are automatically overqualified for most positions and under-educated for jobs in your field.