Recession a Boon to IT Professionals Working as Temps

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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IT temporary firm SmartSource has experienced an increase in both the number of temporary IT professionals it deploys and the number of resumes it receives. The resume increase, however, is outpacing the job increase.

Voice over IP rollouts, PC refreshes in certain vertical industries, and point-of-sale installations remain IT project bright spots even as the world continues to be mired in a recession. That’s according to SmartSource, an IT staffing firm that specializes in serving IT solution providers.

While pointing to IT projects that continue to show growth, SmartSource’s CEO Joe Iovinelli says that the recession has been a boon for his company. As IT solution providers lay off full-time employees, they have made use of temporary workers to fill the holes as they sign on for IT projects, such as big PC rollouts, he says. 

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After all, Gartner has forecast close to a 12 percent decline in PC unit sales in 2009, and many firms are delaying their PC refreshes for yet another year. It’s no surprise that IT solution providers during the current recession would look to downsize their work forces that performed that type of work. However, some PC refresh projects are still a go, and those IT solution providers who have won these projects are now finding themselves without the right IT professionals on staff to do the job.

So SmartSource has seen an increase in the number of resumes it receives from laid-off IT professionals at the same time it has seen an increase in demand for temporary IT professionals. However, the demand increases are not quite even.

Where SmartSource used to get 100 resumes a week, the firm is getting 300.

Meanwhile, SmartSource has increased its revenues by 80 percent over the last four years and doubled the number of client accounts it serves. To accommodate that workload, it has doubled the number of IT professionals it hires.

Iovinelli says he’s noticed a particular increase in demand for IT temporary services over the last six months.

"I think a lot of firms have been doing layoffs and cutbacks," he says. "They’ve cut so deep, and still they are afraid of bringing full-timers on. They are needing to use subcontractors to get the work done because customers are starting to call again."

Iovinelli says his firm gets many calls from the human resources people at IT solution provider companies who are trying to help their recently laid-off employees find other jobs. But with 300 applicants a week now, "it’s almost hard for our team to keep up with the candidates."

Iovinelli says that a year ago his firm would start about 50 new people a week.  Six months ago that number jumped to 75 to 80 people. 

"In the last six weeks we’ve been up to about 100 people," he says. "It’s almost double really."

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