Volume 21, Number 29 -- August 13, 2012

Go To Where The IT Jobs Are

Published: August 13, 2012

by Dan Burger

All things considered in the job market, most employers prefer to recruit locally rather than considering people from out of town or out of the region. And most people searching for work would prefer a local job rather than one that requires relocation. But when the local well runs dry, you need to look for places where opportunity is likely to knock.

According to the latest news from the career-minded folks at Dice, IT folks fishing for jobs will have better luck finding honey holes in the technology-fueled economies of California, Virginia, Texas, New York, and Florida. If you live there, you have an advantage. If you don't, and you are open to relocation to get a job (or a better job), these states offer the most in terms of available jobs.

Who but the most pessimistic are going to disagree with the logic that it makes good sense to go where the jobs are? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those five states employ more than 650,000 tech professionals in computer systems design and related services, and 15,500 positions in this segment were added so far this year. So, follow the money is almost always better advice than choosing to hang around Tightwad, Missouri, and hoping for an opening at the local bank.

If you don't know much about fishing, remember this one rule: If you see a lot of people fishing in one spot, go there. Chances are they know something about how to catch fish. The trouble with that is intense competition. You'll be assured of finding that when job hunting in California, Virginia, Texas, New York, and Florida.

Ideally, what you would like to find are the active fishing holes (in our case, IT job markets) that not everyone knows about. If you're thinking along those lines, keep reading.

This is the kind of stuff that makes Dice the Cabala's of job shopping. It's a list of additional states where your chances of hooking an IT job are better than most.

For Easterners, don't pass up Maryland and Massachusetts. Tech talent is being snatched up in Maryland at a rate that is up 6 percent so far in 2012. Hospitals, biotechnology, and healthcare services companies are recruiting and tech professionals with experience in those fields are in demand. Job searching in Massachusetts, by the numbers, is nearly as successful. Compared to 2011, the first six months of 2012 show hiring increasing at just under a 6 percent. Dice reports that more than 3,500 Massachusetts-based job postings can be found on any given day. That number is up 12 percent compared to a year ago.

In the Midwest, Minnesota's technology association has its sights set on making the state one of the country's top five technology states by 2020. Dice reports that IT hiring there is not only strong among the technology companies, but also includes retailers, healthcare companies, consulting firms, insurance companies, and manufacturers.

Way out West, Oregon and Utah are looking good. Oregon is showing close to 4 percent growth in IT hiring so far in 2012--anchored by mobile and open source software companies. The average tech salary in Oregon exceeds $80,000, according to Dice. Utah is a bit of a surprise. The IT workforce there is comparatively small, but its growth is 1.5 times the national rate. Domo, a business intelligence company based in American Fork (greater Salt Lake City area), is a company attracting a lot of attention.

Who are these relocators? They are a minority of people seeking employment.

Here are a few relocation statistics from CareerBuilder that I found interesting. Based on respondents who were laid off and found new jobs during 2011, 20 percent of those folks moved to a new city or state. Also from that survey was an indicator that 32 percent of employers would pay relocation costs for the newly hired worker. And more than four out of ten survey takers indicated they would be willing to relocate to find a new job.

Here's the red flag and possibly the reason the majority of workers are not in favor of relocating: Higher costs of living can (and probably will) come into play and often stress and homesickness is part of the deal. Plan for these factors in advance.

Robert Half Technology, another of the IT job market experts, publishes an annual salary guide that takes into account local variances in wages. This should be part of your planning. You can download a copy of that guide by following this link.


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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Victor Rozek,
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