June 08, 2009, 4:04 PM — The real impact of the nearly $800 billion stimulus package on shrinking IT employment remains in the future, despite President Obama's plan, announced today, to expedite hiring of some 600,000 people over the next 100 days. Many of the jobs in this summer boost will be aimed at the construction and education fields and at young people.
Meanwhile, the forecast for the next six months is for more tech sector layoffs, according to a new survey.
Of the 1,900 technology recruiters and hiring managers queried about the tech labor market by jobs board Dice.com, 43% believe that layoffs are either "likely" or "very likely" over the next six months. The semi-annual survey also found that companies are giving themselves more time to vet candidates, extending the hiring process.
" It's still a pretty rough market," said Tom Silver, a senior vice president and chief marketing officer at New York-based Dice. Employers that are hiring "are looking for candidates that truly fit like a glove and are lengthening the interview process," he said. Dice has about 48,000 jobs listed on its Web site, which is about 45% below this time last year.
But IT is holding up better than the overall market. Although tech employment has been declining month over month since December, IT unemployment is at 5.6%, compared with a national average of 9.4%.
The IT job market has always been quirky, however. Some companies, especially in health care, open source and Web applications may be aggressively hiring, while tech jobs in problem industries, such as automotive and manufacturing, are shrinking.
David Foote, CEO and chief research officer at IT workforce research consultancy Foote Partners LLC, pointed out in his own analysis of labor data that technical consulting services added jobs in the last two months, as did communications, while jobs in computer systems design and related services have been declining. The recession has had minimal impact in areas such as architecture, project management, business processes, security, communications, and several ERP and infrastructure specializations.
Foote said IT companies will lead the U.S. out of a recession because of the role IT plays in new product creation, delivering services and other areas.
The White House jobs announcement today will create, among other things, 125,000 summer youth jobs, 135,000 teaching and support staff jobs, and will fund construction at Veterans Administration medical centers, new waste water and treatment systems, and clean-up of Superfund Sites.
In the long run, the stimulus is expected to increase tech employment. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington estimates that the stimulus will ultimately create 1 million "person years" of work given its plans for broadband, health IT and the smart grid. A person year is based on an estimate of the amount of work done by one person in a year.