Unemployment Rate Dips for Tech Pros

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It’s good times for tech pros, according to the latest burst of unemployment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as analyzed by Dice (PDF).

Not only did the unemployment rate for the tech industry hit 2.3 percent in the first quarter of the year—the lowest rate recorded in nearly seven years—but unemployment rates also declined for the following specialties:

Of course, that doesn’t mean everybody’s enjoying the benefits of a robust economy: Some tech titans have laid off tech workers, and even buzzed-about startups with lots of venture funding have shut down.

But those pockets of weakness haven’t dissuaded an increasing number of tech pros from voluntarily quitting in search of better opportunities. Early data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that just over a million tech pros left their jobs of their own volition in the first two months of the year, slightly more on average than the 471,300 employees per month who departed in the fourth quarter of 2014.

And the better opportunities are out there: According to Dice’s most recent annual salary survey, tech pros earned $89,450 on average in 2014, up 2 percent from 2013. The tech industry’s continuing momentum—and dipping unemployment rate—suggests that number will only continue to rise this year. The big question is whether the good times will continue to roll for everyone, or if certain specialties will outpace others on the employment front.

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Image: Dice/Data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

12 Responses to “Unemployment Rate Dips for Tech Pros”

  1. James Beatty

    Really it’s dipped? I find that real hard to believe as I’m still looking for work. Is it any wonder that people are just t totally p!ssed with you all. I just interviewed for a perl developer position out there and this company thnks they can demand an in person interview being located in [expletive] egypt without relocation assistance. Don’t even get me started on the fact that the people arranging the interview used the wrong phone number even after I gave them the right one several times and still they chose to use one not local to me. I’m thinking people don’t want me to work but would rather I just lay down and die. companies are really low for what they’re doing but this country is terrible as foreign cruiters are totally messing things up on purpose. WOW why should I even bother.

  2. Marty Miller

    @James beatty. I can totally relate to your post. I was the Director of Product on the Hulu (then called Newsite) launch team who wrote the PRD (200+ pages and and product road map calling for production of ‘originals’, which Hulu adopted a couple of years after I left. And I’ve been a successful project/program manager (for Nissan, Sony, Hyundai…) for over 10 years. And I was the first Digital Creative Director for Edmunds.com

    I cannot believe I’m on the beach (I live in Silicon Beach[aka Santa Monica]). I get these useless ‘waste-of-my-time’ calls from India staffing companies — seemingly always coming from New jersey numbers — for contract work. Nothing comes of these calls.

    Maybe my experience is too broad or I have too many years? I’m a published writer… Age bias?

  3. Shawn

    James I totally agree, although I have always remained employed (thru Dice postings), the foreign recruiters are the worst thing that has happened to the industry. They can hardly speak english and its a battle just to get them to know what your skillset is because they have absolutely NO technical background, and in a lot of cases they have no recruitment background AND the number you call them on is often forwarded to them over in the foreign country. I try to stick with the well known recruitment agencies that have been around more than 10 years, and are not trying to get their buddies a job in a foreign country.

  4. wageSlave

    @ James The learning curve is expensive unless the employer can make someone else pay for it. This is what economist call an externality model. They are externalizing the cost of your education on to you. If they are not willing to pay for the skills than they are not going to pay if you don’t have them. The choice is yours. Pay for the skills they want with your resources and discount your services at a marginal rate that includes the cost of the head hunter commission in the transaction. Or join the exodus from the industry. You can make a decent living driving long range trucks without the yearly educational costs and actually increase your lifetime earning potential. I’m serious the numbers are that bad.
    @ Marty The folks calling you on the phone are not recruiters. They are data miners and they are adding job search costs to the transaction without providing a benefit to you worthy of your time answering them.

  5. James Beatty

    Well I’m taking my out no matter if a real job appears or not. I spent ten years in college getting my three degrees and if this country wants to head to a cesspool in the bottom rungs of world leadership by letting companies do this who am I to argue. Yes I know the door I’m going to take is wrong but I believe GOD wants me to exit stage left gracefully and is presenting me this opportunity. He could have demanded a in person interview and as we all know no one ever returns from an in person interview with the big guy. So se la vie every body. I’m exiting stage left….;)

  6. Virgil Bierschwale

    It is easy for tech and general unemployment to dip when you do not count the unemployed.

    Problem with your theory is the current employment survey data that the dept of labor maintains shows a totally different story that organizations like yours refuse to even crunch the numbers on.

    Our three highest years were:

    2007 – 162,242,000
    2014 – 163,865,000
    2015 – 162,617,000
    Now we can turn to our trusty old calculator to make some comparisons:

    If we subtract 2007 totals from 2015 totals we end up with a difference of 375,000 jobs which means we have created 375,000 more jobs than we had in 2007

    If we subtract 2007 totals from 2014 totals we end up with a difference of 1,623,000 jobs which means we had created 1,623,000 more jobs than we had in 2007

    If we subtract 2015 totals from 2014 totals we end up with a difference of 1,248,000 jobs which means we have lost 1,248,000 more jobs than we had in 2014.


  7. The numbers are obviously rigged in order for companies to demand bigger H1 quotas. In New York area the Financials have been cutting tech staff very aggressively. We are getting hundred resumes from displaced JPMorgan techies who as I can see been on the market for over 6 months.

  8. Forget It

    Imagine how much better IT unemployment and wages would be if the labor market weren’t being gamed by industry to flood it with cheap labor from overseas via H-1B or, additionally, if work weren’t also being sent overseas.

  9. Dan Baker

    The offshore machine just keeps on rolling along. Who to blame? U.S. companies. Our government is run by business now. We need to take back our country. The H1B and L1 visa related to tech professions must stop. Stop the business and immigration law lobbies in Washington, D.C.

  10. SamJay

    Hi guys I have been trying since 2009 for anykind of computer related employment online and by sending applications, unfortunately no one ask me to come for an interview. I was laid off since 2009. I giveup looking employment since 2014. Now, I am a limousine driver. Thanks for the technology.

  11. Mark Agovino

    I am a local recruiter, based in NY. Although the unemployment percentages can be misleading because it doesn’t count those who have stopped looking, I can tell you that I think the IT labor market is much tighter than it was just a couple of years ago. There are fewer skilled people looking for a new position these days, at least in the IT infrastructure field in which I specialize.

    One of the disconnects is that many companies have not changed their hiring practices. When hiring companies were in the drivers seat, they could ask candidates to jump through hoops and compete against each other. They also had such a narrow view of the opening that they were always looking for the “perfect candidate”. These days, I see that the companies that move quickly to interview and evaluate talent are the ones making the hires, while I have to tell some clients, “sorry that candidate took another job already”.

    I am frequently educating my clients on the need to move quickly in the interview process, and to look at the underlying skills of the person, not just the resume.

    As for H1B visas, I don’t see that at all in our customer base. Maybe because they are typically small to medium sized businesses, they won’t even consider sponsoring an H1B (or other) visa. I think that is only an issue with the much larger companies. Try looking an smaller employers to avoid that issue if you feel you need to. Finding a local recruiter can really help as well.

  12. techguy

    Title is highly misleading. The US Labor Dept publishes the Labor Participation Report. This displays the total headcount of all US Citizens working inthe US.
    The total number of citizens with jobs continues to drop each quarter as the economy slows. 10 million less American citizens have jobs
    Percents mislead. If there are no workers to lay off, Unemployment drops to zero.