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12/15/2005
04:09 PM
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This Was Another Rocky Year For Tech Workers, Study Says

IT job confidence levels among technology pros fluctuated greatly during 2005, which was a continuation of a pattern seen in 2004.

Tech pros were more worried about layoffs—and jumpier about their jobs overall—than workers in other sectors in 2005, according to a new report.

IT job confidence levels among IT and telecom pros during the year were the most turbulent compared to workers in other sectors—including healthcare, accounting and finance, and manufacturing—according to a new report released this week by professional staffing and outsourcing firm Hudson.

Hudson, which conducts monthly phone surveys of more than 9,000 workers in several industries, including more than 500 tech pros, found that IT job confidence levels among techies fluctuated greatly during 2005. However, the volatility among IT workers about their jobs isn't new, but rather a continuation of a similar pattern seen in 2004, when confidence among IT workers was also unstable throughout the year. During 2005, using a base score of 100, there was a 20-point swing between the highest and lowest IT job confidence ratings. However, despite the ups and downs, IT pros' job confidence for the year averaged 104.5—a bit higher than the 101.3 average for all workers.

Workers in the manufacturing sector were the biggest drag on the overall national average. The average job confidence rating during the year for manufacturing workers was only 87.1. Accounting and financial services workers were the most optimistic, with an average rating of 107.9, followed by healthcare workers at 105.3.

While tech pros expressed the most concern about layoffs during 2005, health-care workers worried the least about losing their jobs during year. Overall, the average job confidence rating across all sectors—including IT and telecom—was about 5 points lower than the averages in 2004.

Hudson executive VP Kevin Knaul attributed the overall decline in job confidence across all sectors in 2005 to a number of issues that impact personal finances, including rising gas prices, interest rates, and the destructive hurricane season. "These were all factors that took a toll on people's perceptions" about personal finances and job security, he says. Looking ahead to 2006, however, tech—as well as workers across all sectors—seem more buoyant about personal finances, job prospects and pay, Knaul says.

In a new Hudson survey of 1,847 workers in several sectors, 42% said they expect to earn at least a bit more in 2006 than they did in 2005. Twenty-one percent said they expect to earn "significantly" more, and only 15% expect their earnings to decrease. The rest—22%—expected pay to remain the same.

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