Higher Salaries, More Jobs for IT Pros in 2012

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Print this article Print

While the overall employment picture in the United States remains tight, many IT pros can look forward to a more prosperous 2012.

Even with several negative economic indicators nagging workers worried about availability of jobs, new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released late last week and a survey out this week by online employment site Dice show that technology professionals have been more isolated than most from market woes.

According to BLS, unemployment only went down a hitch to 8.6 percent from 9.0 percent, while the number of workers who have given up looking for jobs increased by 315,000 unemployed workers last month.  The number of long-term unemployed workers without jobs for over 26 weeks continued to make up nearly half of those unemployed today. But in the technology sector, there was some good news.

Though two of the IT-related sectors measured by BLS lost jobs -- Telecommunications and Data Processing, Hosting and Related Services -- two other IT segments saw notable growth.  Combined, the Management and Technical Consulting Services and Computer Systems Design and Related Services segments experienced a net gain of nearly 129,800 jobs in the last twelve months.

According to David Foote, CEO of IT analyst and employment research firm Foote Partners, this tracks with his research.

"Among the 2,200 employers who participate as research partners in our industry research, there’s no question that consulting firms and systems integrators are benefitting from these employers’ purchases of managed services and investments in cloud computing as an alternative to acquiring technology skills in house," Foote says.

IT recruitment firm Dice, which queried nearly 1,200 IT hiring managers and recruiters recently about their plans for 2012, saw more employment going inhouse. Released this week, the data showed that 65 percent of employers will be seeking to hire technology professionals in the first half of 2012. About a quarter of those report that they plan to expand staffs by more than 20 percent during the same time period.

"The tech recruiting market is active, although the pace of improvement has been impacted by broader economic concerns," said Alice Hill, Managing Director of Dice.com. "Many companies are chasing mid-career talent. The elevated economic uncertainty makes it tougher for hiring managers to lure tech professionals into leaving their current position."

This is working to technologists' benefit salary-wise as many companies are luring new recruits from the safety blanket of their current situations with higher pay. Dice found that 42 percent of hiring managers predict that new-hire salaries will rise in 2012.