Employment Up! IT Jobs Down?
October 15, 2012 Jenny Thomas
Jobs, and the lack of them, are big news in the United States. And by now most of us have probably heard that the Bureau of Labor Statistics had some encouraging news in its September jobs report, revealing the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent, marking the first time the jobless rate has been below 8 percent since December 2007. If that wasn’t enough to reinvigorate job seekers, the BLS also revised its July and August job reports, confirming the creation of jobs in those months was actually higher than originally reported.
Great news, on the surface, but the folks at Janco Associates, a management consulting firm that monitors the IT job market, dug a little deeper and found that if you’re looking for work in the IT sector, you shouldn’t expect to see a plethora of opportunities heading your way anytime soon.
Last week, Janco reported that, according to BLS data, the IT job market shrank by 6,600 jobs in September, and the number of jobs originally thought to have been added in the summer months continues to be adjusted, and not in a positive direction.
“The jobs picture for IT pros is not as bright. On top of the September job losses, the number of IT jobs added in July continues to be reduced, to 13,600 in the August data from 20,400 reported in July data, and in the current data it has been reduced to 11,000 jobs added. That is a reduction of 9,400 jobs of just that month. Looking back at historical data, it seems the BLS data over reports the number of job created and then adjusts downward,” said Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates.
Janco’s jobs report broke the IT jobs market into four categories:
Only the telecom category saw a teeny uptick in new jobs in September, up just seven-tenths of a percent. The rest of the categories took nosedives, most notably companies engaged in computer systems design related services, which collectively fell 11.2 percent.
Janco went a step further before making any predictions for the future of IT jobs based on the numbers, and conducted telephone interviews with 92 CIOs based in the United States to get their take on what lies ahead. The feedback was surprisingly encouraging, with respondents stating they remain cautious, but feel that overall hiring will improve significantly in 2013 and are initially budgeting accordingly. In fact, the telephone interviews revealed one in 10 CIOs are looking to hire within the next three months to fill short term needs. These CIOs are looking for particular sets of skills to meet the demands of mobile computing and toward implementation processes to support users to use their own personal devices in the workplace.
“Many are looking ahead to a brighter future with increased staffing in late spring and early summer. CIOs are keeping their current overall FTE [full-time equivalent] headcounts level, but are looking to replace consultants and contractors with full-time employees. A few CIOs in selected areas like the San Francisco bay area and Boston continue to be bullish,” said Janulaitis.
Janco also notes that the healthcare job market continues to shine in the overall U.S. labor market, and is one area where IT professionals may find greater job opportunities.
It is difficult to say how we should interpret all of this conflicting news, but if you’re seeking work in the IT sector, it’s probably best to keep your focus on selling your skills and don’t get bogged down in the numbers. The other thing to remember is that the BLS data tracks companies by industry, so this is only a view into IT vendors, but not the IT departments that reside in all industries and that employ many, many millions of people.