Where to find work in IT

If you're a security manager in New York, you're golden

If you're a geek, according to two major IT hiring and job services companies, your prospects are marginally better than almost anyone else in what is turning into the second dip of at least a double-dip recession.

Bureau of Labor Statistics reported no job growth (literally 0 percent) in the economy overall, computer systems jobs grew by an astonishing 8,000 during August. (Better than zero, but that's what they call statistically insignificant.)

On the other hand, six percent of the 1,400 CIOs surveyed every quarter by Robert Half Technology expect to add new IT jobs this quarter, compared to four percent in June.

Leading IT job-ad site Dice.com shows numbers that are even more optimistic. As of Sept. 1, Dice had 82,836 jobs posted – 20 percent more than last year at the same time.

Even better, when you break the ads down between contract and full time, the advantage is clearly to the full-time gig.

The number of staff jobs is 26 percent higher than last year, while contract jobs increased 9 percent.

That's a huge change from the sadder parts of the recession, when it seemed as if the only jobs of any kind available anywhere were either contract jobs or involved some kind of indentured servitude.

Slow job growth, longer hiring cycles

It is taking longer to hire staffers – an average of seven weeks compared to five weeks a year ago, according to RHT.

That could argue for more trouble in the future.

During 2009 and 2010, when hiring was at its lowest points, hiring times stretched way, way out as execs put off decisions that would commit them to long-term budget drains and hired contractors instead.

The increasing ratio of staff to contractor jobs on Dice should mitigate that, though.

It's more likely that hiring managers are just more cautious or are having to jump through more hoops to get a new hire confirmed than they are to be shifting toward contractors again.

CIOs confident they'll get the budget for new jobs

Another big positive, from RHI, is that 88 percent of CIOs who expect their companies will be spending on new IT projects between now and the end of the year. Of course, 92 percent of them said they're confident in their company's growth prospects which, if you've been following any of the business news, is a good indication they're out of the loop or out of their minds ;– a little optimistic.

Two thirds of CIOs said it's hard to find the skill sets they're looking for, but they always say that. It doesn't mean they're any more desperate for the right skill sets than they usually are, just that the people who apply for the jobs they have open don't perfectly match the long list of WannaHave qualifications the CIOs hand off to recruiters like RHI.

The more specific these surveys get the more reliable the data tends to be. In RHI's case, that boils down to a good estimation of which skills are the hottest by listing the percent of CIOs trying to hire people with them:

  • Hardest skills to find:
  • Security -- 18 percent
  • Networking – 17 percent
  • Database management/help desk tech support (tie) 11 percent
  • Source: RHT

  • Highest percentage of jobs available:
  • Network administration – 63 percent
  • Desktop management – 50 percent
  • Desktop support – 43 percent
  • Source: RHT
    Industries in which the most CIOs said they're planning to add jobs:
  • Transportation – 18 percent
  • Business services – 12 percent
  • Manufacturing – 10 percent
  • Source: RHT

    Hottest metro areas for IT jobs:    
    City Increase in jobs posted Percent
    New York/New Jersey 9,378 14 percent
    Washington DC/Baltimore 7,966 13 percent
    Silicon Valley 5,113 17 percent
    Chicago 3,552 21 percent
    Los Angeles 3,177 24 percent
    Boston 3,176 42 percent
    Atlanta 2,997 39 percent
    Seattle 2,557 28 percent
    Dallas 2,890 29 percent
    Philadelphia 2,227 18 percent
    Source: Dice.com, as of Aug. 1, 2011

Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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