Steady economic recovery gives opportunities for IT workersAugust 5, 2013 | Posted at 10:23 am
With the release of the recent jobs report by the Labor Department showing that the United States is making steady, if not spectacular, progress in rebuilding the economy, the opportunities for IT professionals continue to grow.
Increase in IT hiring
A recent study of the figures for June has revealed that new information technology hires account for around 10 percent of total national job growth, with tech-based employment now calculated to be approximately 4.47 million nationwide. According to Computerworld, individual assessments of the BLS data by the TechServe Alliance and Foote Partners – independent IT services researchers based in Alexandria. Virginia, and Vero Beach, Florida, respective – have found that the sector is continuing to add jobs, with the firms estimating that anywhere between 18,200 and 22,600 positions were created since the last jobs report in May.
“While the pace of job creation in the national labor force appears stuck at 7.6% unemployment and new jobs are heavily in part-time positions and low wage full-time segments, IT jobs have been on a sustained growth upswing and wages are holding steady if not growing slightly,” said David Foote, chief analyst for Foote Partners, in a statement, adding that IT employment increasing on average by around 13,500 new jobs in the first six months of the year.
The news that information technology staff remain in high demand comes at a time when a number of major companies are cutting back on their IT workers, with IBM recently announcing that it has been forced to cut 3,000 jobs at various national locations. IT employment figures can also vary depending on how an individual analyst or researcher interprets the data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, although it is assumed that many companies will be turning to contract workers in the short term until the economy stabilizes.
“Despite the increase in hiring, IT salaries remain flat,” said Victor Janulatis, CEO of labor analyst Janco Associates, according to the news source. “Based on our interviews with over 96 CIOs in the last 30 days, we concluded that CIOs are not in a great hurry to hire new staff except to meet short term needs until they see a clear trend as to what is happening with the economy.”
Building an economic foundation
However, according to USA Today, the sluggish growth of the economy is not deterring employers from bolstering their existing staff levels, with many companies looking to make up for laying off workers in the early days of the recession and hiring slowly during the recovery.
Economic analysts believe that even minor increases in sales is forcing some firms – in particular the small-to-medium businesses – to invest in employees, with companies preparing for a more robust growth spurt later this year coupled with a lower average wage that is a symptom of an ongoing fiscal recovery. Average hourly wages have increased in the last year – around 2.2 percent nationally – while payrolls have increased by 3.1 percent in traditional low wage sectors and 1.3 percent in those industries considered to be high payers, according to the news source.
“Businesses have to hire because they can’t squeeze more out of existing workers,” noted Dean Maki, chief economist at Barclays Capital. “One reason is that they’ve been reluctant to invest in new technologies that would increase worker productivity, largely because they’re still worried about federal spending cuts and overseas economic turmoil. The good news is the effects of the federal spending cuts should fade by then even as the housing rebound provides a further boost to the recovery. That should pave the way for job growth next year that rests on a more solid economic foundation.”