IT Jobs Gaining Ground Again

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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Although the overall economy continues to shed jobs, albeit at a slower rate, the IT sector is showing signs of stabilization and has actually gained jobs over the last three months. But as IT professionals await a more robust recovery, they should look into skill sets that will be in demand in 2010.

Even though the overall economy is still shedding jobs instead of adding them, IT job creation seems to have turned a corner.

U.S. employment numbers released last week by the U.S. Department of Labor showed a third straight month of improvement in IT-related employment. Categories that grew included those in professional and technical services businesses that encompassed management and technical consulting, up 5,600 in November. Also up in November by 1,000 jobs was computer system design and related services.

IT employment industry analyst firm Foote Partners notes that among five IT bellwether job segments reported in the Labor Department report, 7,300 jobs were lost in September, October and November, but those same segments added 18,500 jobs for a net gain of 11,200 jobs.

Foote Partners points out that for the first eight months of 2009 the same five IT job segments experienced a net loss of nearly 31,000 jobs.

"This is a good news, bad news employment report for IT," says David Foote, CEO and chief research officer at Foote Partners, in a statement. "The IT services industry can look forward to increasing demand for their services and will see hiring of technical and management specialists picking up further in the first quarter of 2010. Despite some good momentum starting to build, companies in other IT segments are still feeling pain."

But while the worst may be over for many, big gains aren’t on the way immediately. And IT professionals looking to solidify their position may very well want to identify the hot skill sets and build up those areas.

"What this means is that despite the recent GDP upturn and recovering stock prices as we enter our nation’s third straight year of economic instability, the length of the tail on the traditional staffing lag will be much longer than in previous recoveries," Foote says.

"Hiring will not pick up noticeably for the IT industry as a whole until late next year, and more likely 2011," he adds. "Volatility will continue to punctuate staffing and pay levels, and will be focused on specific skill specializations as employers struggle to recalibrate their IT workforces by striking the right balance between costs, agility and intense competitive market pressures—which is a moving target, of course."

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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