The unemployment rate for tech occupations hit 1.7 percent in April, a slight uptick from 1.4 percent in March, according to a new CompTIA analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.
Despite that uptick, tech unemployment remains historically low. Employer job postings for technology occupations surpassed 443,000 in April, totaling 1.6 million in 2020 so far—a 40 percent increase year-over-year, CompTIA added.
“Despite the growing chatter around economic headwinds, it was another solid month of tech employment gains and hiring activity momentum,” Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA, wrote in a statement. Demand was particularly strong for software developers and engineers (which accounted for 30 percent of all job postings), along with IT project managers, IT support specialists, systems engineers and architects, and network engineers and architects.
Demand for tech talent has spiked compensation over the past few years; the average tech salary now stands at $104,566, according to the most recent Dice Tech Salary Report, having risen 6.9 percent between 2020 and 2021. For specialized occupations such as machine-learning specialist or data scientist, compensation can climb to a much higher peak, particularly at companies with the budgets to offer massive blocks of stock options and other benefits.
The latest unemployment rate is also a healthy reminder that, even though some famous companies might be instituting hiring freezes or pay cuts in response to business slowdowns, many organizations continue to hire aggressively. In many ways, these organizations have no choice; whatever’s going on in the larger world, they still need apps built, tech infrastructure maintained and protected, and data analyzed for crucial strategic insights.
However, just because there’s extraordinary demand for technologists doesn’t mean companies will hire just anyone—they want technologists who’ve mastered vital skills such as software development and project management, as well as programming languages and tools such as SQL, Python, and Java. Whenever you apply to a new position, make sure you have all the skills the employer wants—and make sure to highlight those skills on your resume and application materials.