How is the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the job market? The latest edition of the Dice Tech Job Report analyzed data from the second quarter, giving us a fuller picture of how employers are dealing with the current landscape.
Although nationwide tech postings in the second quarter of this year were down when compared to the same quarter in 2019, there was much positivity within the data nonetheless. For example, many tech hubs showed continued growth, along with technologist occupations that build, maintain, and expand tech infrastructure.
Most encouragingly, when comparing June’s job postings to those in May, there are large increases across the U.S., and, in some cases, a return to levels that are consistent with pre-COVID-19 numbers. Companies initially responded to the pandemic by scaling back their immediate hiring (which resulted in declines for many cities and occupations), but there are many signs that confidence is returning to the market.
The pandemic is far from over, but companies are in a better position to engage in long-term planning, and technologists are a vital part of those plans. Beyond job postings, tech unemployment dropped to 3.7 percent in May (according to CompTIA), down from 4.3 percent in April; compare that to the 13.3 percent national unemployment rate.
While the report itself breaks down that data in much more extensive detail, here are some highlights:
Many states are proving resilient in the face of the pandemic. In Virginia, for example, job postings rose 11 percent year-over-year, with much of that growth driven by a stunning 28 percent increase in the city of Arlington (home to many defense and federal government contractors, as well as the future location of Amazon’s mammoth HQ2). New Jersey also enjoyed 14 percent growth in the second quarter, with big firms such as JPMorgan Chase hiring.
Even in states that showed a decline, there was still some good news. For instance, California’s job postings declined 28 percent in the second quarter, but its gross job postings (140,000) were almost twice as many as any other state. Across the country, companies are moving forward with their plans and need for talent.
Despite the impact of the pandemic, established and emerging tech hubs alike showed year-over-year (YoY) growth in the second quarter. Richmond saw 33 percent growth YoY, trailed only slightly by Arlington (28 percent YoY), Austin (16 percent YoY) and Raleigh (9 percent YoY).
Almost all tech hubs saw job postings increase between May and June, in many instances, helping blunt the impact of YoY declines. For instance, New York and San Francisco, the nation’s largest and most-established tech hubs, each dipped 32 percent YoY, but both rebounded strongly in June with month-over-month (MoM) increases of 26 percent and 42 percent, respectively. Here are the 10 tech hubs that generated the most MoM growth in June:
Bottom line: While some cities are beginning to return to job posting volumes consistent with pre-COVID-19 levels, others are growing their tech demand to new heights. Here’s a breakdown of how cities are faring on a week-by-week basis, with regard to job posting levels:
In April and May, companies rushed to figure out how to ensure their employees could most effectively work from home; by June, they were trying to determine how to safely bring them back to the office. After improvising for so long, companies are now shifting back to longer-term planning—and that means hiring.
Amazon, which experienced a significant rise in business during the pandemic, was the top employer in Q2, hiring for a variety of technologist roles including software developer, network engineer, program manager, and systems engineer. The company wants skills ranging from Java and C++ to machine learning. Large defense companies such as General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman have been hiring many engineers and developers, as well.
In Q2, companies needed technologists who can not only build, maintain and secure their technology infrastructure, but also build new products. Throughout the entire second quarter, job postings for Java developers climbed 14 percent year-over-year, while salesforce developers notched upward 10 percent, and DevOps engineers rose 3 percent.
During the May-June period, as companies regained even more of their equilibrium, hiring picked up for “core” technologist occupations, including data engineers (a 51 percent increase Month-over-Month), application developers (31 percent MoM), cyber security engineers (26 percent MoM) and software developers (25 percent MoM). Here are the 10 tech occupations that generated the most MoM growth in June:
It remains to be seen how the pandemic will impact hiring throughout the rest of the year, but it’s safe to say that the intense focus on remote work (companies such as Twitter have already announced that they’re going to shift to the majority of employees working remotely on a full-time basis) will only increase the need for sysadmins, cybersecurity experts, and network engineers who can keep widely distributed networks maintained and safe. Those technologists who work with the cloud, such as cloud architects, will likely also see increased demand for their skills as companies turn increasingly to cloud-based platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud to get things done.
As you can see from the week-over-week data below, job postings for almost all occupations increased in June, suggesting that companies need a variety of technologists for projects coming online:
With companies again planning for the long-term, and figuring out how to resume “normal” operations, certain technology skills have seen a revival in demand. In the second quarter, employers prioritized DevOps (11 percent), Git (3 percent), and information security (2 percent).
Between May and June, as employers got more comfortable, other skills also enjoyed a healthy uptick in job postings. For instance, debugging rose 31 percent, along with product management (up 28 percent), suggesting that companies have picked up and dusted off their product roadmaps, and they’re focusing increasingly on building again. Systems engineering rose 25 percent as companies figured out their needs with regard to maintaining and improving infrastructure. Here’s a chart breaking down the top 10 month-over-month increases:
In good news for technologists everywhere, the skills on the rise are heavily diversified; no matter what your experience level and background, chances are good that there’s a position that fits it—and no matter where you live, that opportunity may be remote. While the nation is still dealing with the pandemic, it’s clear from the Q2 data that businesses are more confident, and they’re returning to new products and projects—which means they need technologists.