February 24, 2012, 11:42 AM — Despite the mass of indicators showing the U.S. economy is on a glacially slow but statistically certain growth curve, there are still fewer jobs for high-skilled IT people than geeks grew used to seeing until the current recession started in December, 2007.
IT job-market analysts Janco Associates, Inc. report a serious dichotomy in corporate IT hiring plans, for example.
Rather than saying they would or would not be hiring IT people at various senority levels, 110 hiring managers interviewed in January and early February said they plan to hire very few IT managers at any level during the next 30 days.
Respondents said they will hire some lower-level IT staffers for full-time jobs, but will focus their hiring on contract or temporary workers who can help keep the lights on and packets flowing without the long-term financial obligation of a full-time worker.
Respondents are more optimistic about the future, however. Ask about their plans in 12 months rather than during the next 30 days, and the overwhelming response was that companies would be hiring IT managers and staff at all levels and scale back the number of their contractors.
That sounds nicely optimistic, but is more likely a generic hope things will improve. "12 months" is a convenient target date that means "sometime in the future if my budget improves," not "we'll hire 8 FTEs by Feb. 24 2013."
IT industry coalition the TechServe Alliance is a little more practically optimistic. The conclusion of its analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics numbers was that IT jobs increased by 600 in November – about 1.5 percent of the 39,000 new jobs that appeared that month.
TechServ predicts overall IT employment will accelerate to a relatively steady 2.5 percent for this year.
Unfortunately most of the economic predictors have overestimated the impact of recession-reversing trends and the number of jobs they'll bring with them; that's been the frustrating part for many who are unemployed or underemployed even two-and-a-half years after the Great Recession (theoretically) ended.
The Gross Domestic Product, Consumer Price index, Producer Price Index, Consumer Confidence Index and other metrics thought to predict the future of the job market have been woefully inaccurate during the past four or five years.
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