Despite the recent lackluster employment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there's cause for optimism on the IT hiring front, according to Dice.com. In a poll of 800 IT-focused hiring managers and recruiters, the tech jobs site found 73% plan to increase hiring in the second half of the year compared to the first six months of 2012.
More IT hiring managers and recruiters are optimistic about hiring than six months ago, when 65% said they planned to increase hiring.
[ FREE DOWNLOAD: 6 things every IT person should know ]
JOB HUNTING: Top 20 metro areas for tech jobs
Respondents are divided on the issue of finding technical talent, however. Roughly one-quarter (24%) said the time it takes to fill positions has shortened compared to last year, while 45% reported extended hiring times, due in part to an inability to find qualified professionals. The remainder -- 31% -- said the time to fill open positions is unchanged relative to 2011.
On the salary front, 58% of corporate hiring managers said salaries for existing IT staff are higher than they were last year. Dice.com also asked corporate hiring managers about attrition rates. Nearly two-thirds (63%) said voluntary departures have not increased, while 37% said they have.
"Our customers tell us it's hard to entice tech professionals out of their current positions," said Tom Silver, Dice's senior vice president, North America, in a statement. "There is just not enough confidence for professionals to leave what they know behind and take a chance with their careers."
Tech professionals of all experience levels are in demand, though hiring managers and recruiters reported different search priorities. Companies recruiting for their own needs are most likely to focus on tech professionals with two to five years in the workforce, slightly edging out those with six to 10 years of experience, Dice.com reports. Recruiters and staffing companies, meanwhile, tend to be searching for more experienced professionals with six to 10 years of tenure.
Dice's relatively positive IT hiring forecast comes on the heels of a disappointing U.S. jobs report last week. The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on June 1 that the unemployment rate rose from 8.1% to 8.2% in May and the number of new jobs created was only 69,000 -- the worst month for job creation in a year.
In his tech-specific analysis of the BLS monthly employment report, analyst David Foote noted a slowing of job growth across four jobs segments commonly associated with IT professionals. While BLS reported a net gain of 5,200 jobs across those four jobs segments (Management/Technical Consulting Services, Computer Systems Design/Related Services, Telecommunications, and Data Processing/Hosting/Related Services), tech job creation is down by 4,600 jobs compared to April, when 9,800 new jobs were added.
"For technology workers, a group that had not been doing poorly in the BLS reports -- up by nearly 45,000 [jobs] over the last seven months -- I think we will now see at best a flattening out over the next several months," said Foote, CEO at Foote Partners, which analyzes IT and business labor trends, in a statement. "I mean, why hire more people when real economic growth has taken such a hit? We won't be seeing layoffs but we won't be seeing the 6,400 per month average in new tech job creation that has been occurring over the last half year."
Ann Bednarz covers IT careers, outsourcing and Internet culture for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter at @annbednarz and check out her blog, Occupational Hazards. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.
This story, "IT hiring forecast optimistic ... for now" was originally published by Network World.