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IT Leadership // CIO Insights & Innovation
Commentary
7/8/2008
02:54 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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Is Your Company Still Hiring IT Workers?

According to Bureau Of Labor Statistics, IT jobs are a glimmer of light in a darkening employment picture. Good news but surprising, given an anticipated retrenchment in IT spending. Will that bullish employment outlook last?

According to Bureau Of Labor Statistics, IT jobs are a glimmer of light in a darkening employment picture. Good news but surprising, given an anticipated retrenchment in IT spending. Will that bullish employment outlook last?In a news story by my colleague Chris Murphy, IT hiring was still going strong in the second quarter, despite the weakness in most of the rest of the U.S. job market. According to our calculations of the quarterly BLS data, IT jobs increased more than 2% from the first quarter, to hit 4.1 million employed, an all time high. Compared with the second quarter a year ago, U.S. IT employment is up 10%.

The last time InformationWeek did a survey about the effects of the weakening economy on IT, however, a majority of respondents said they were getting pressure to cut back technology spending, and they broke down their plans this way:

About three-quarters of companies looking to cut their IT spending say they'll scale back new hires; 55% say they'll hold off on infrastructure upgrades, including PCs, servers, and other hardware; and 45% cite new application development and other software projects as probable casualties.

(To see the complete results of our March survey, in chart form, go here.)

Of course, "scale back" doesn't mean eliminate altogether. But it does imply retrenchment, a pulling back to accommodate that fiscal conservatism. That's why it's a surprise to see IT hiring still increasing.

Despite the increase, retrenchment still might be represented in the BLS numbers. An organization called the National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses, which advocates for the IT consulting industry, tracks IT jobs monthly using BLS data. In its most recent report, the NACCB says the U.S. added only 1,700 IT jobs in June, compared with 43,000 in May.

What's your experience? Has your company cut back on IT hiring? Do you have open IT positions, and if so, do you have hope of filling them yet this year?

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