Tech Unemployment Rate Dipped to 1.7 Percent in January

The tech unemployment rate continues to dive. According to the latest analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data by CompTIA, the tech unemployment rate hit 1.7 percent in January—down from 2 percent in December.

“By all accounts this was an exceptionally strong start to the year for tech employment,” Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA, wrote in a statement accompanying the organization’s analysis. “The arms race in recruiting and retaining tech talent undoubtedly challenges employers in direct and indirect ways.”

Organizations remain as hungry for technologists as ever. In January, there were 340,000 open tech positions, and the rate of open jobs tracked above the 12-month average by roughly 11 percent. Eight metro areas enjoyed more than 10,000 tech job openings, including New York (19,265) and Settle (10,047). 

For technologists interested in a new job, it’s a good time to examine the market and see if any open positions appeal to you. Keep in mind that some skills pay far more than others; as shown by Dice’s latest Tech Salary Survey, skills related to data storage and analytics, the cloud, and artificial intelligence can earn you a healthy premiumIn certain well-established tech hubs such as Seattle, Silicon Valley, and New York City, organizations also continue to pay extremely generous salaries to technologists (and in up-and-coming tech hubs, salaries are on the rise—in Philadelphia, for instance, the average tech salary rose 19.8 percent between 2020 and 2021, to $106,725). 

Experience also has a significant impact on compensation. Between 2019 and 2021, technologists with less than one year of experience saw the greatest rise in salary of all groups (up 24.4 percent to $68,693). That increase amounted to an average bump in salary to the tune of $13,462 over the two years. Keep in mind, however, that employers are looking for more than technical skills; “soft skills” such as empathy and communication are also key, especially if you want to eventually ascend to a management position. 

As employers scramble to secure the talent they need, they’re also more willing than ever to offer the benefits that technologists want—everything from flexible schedules to equity. A remarkably low tech unemployment rate gives you room for negotiation. Take advantage of it.