The 2021 IT Job Market: What a Year

Remote work and pent-up demand fueled a frenzied job market in 2021. IT pros sought higher salaries, and CIOs focused on retaining talent.

Jessica Davis, Senior Editor

December 20, 2021

5 Min Read
black keyboard with Jobs on enter tab
md3d via Adobe Stock Photos

Some of the most visible transformations that were accelerated by the pandemic happened in the workforce. Fear of job loss was a big theme in 2020. But in 2021, the switch was flipped. Now more workers are looking to trade up in their jobs, finding new opportunities in a job market of expanded opportunities enabled by remote work.

After a year of salary stagnation for many, IT pros were looking for new opportunities with higher salaries -- and they were finding them. Organizations shifted their focus to retaining existing talent through “wellness” programs and training their existing talent on skills needed to compete in today’s market.

For the first time ever, “remote” work topped the list of geographies in job advertisements, placing above New York and San Francisco for technology jobs, according to a report from The Ladders.

Remote work continued to be a major theme in 2021 as companies set and then delayed plans for a return to the office, over and over again. At the same time, tech vendor providers of office collaboration tools for remote work refined their product offerings and sketched out a vision for a long-term future that incorporated remote work as a major component.

This is still an area and topic that is very much in flux. For continuing updates, be sure to subscribe to InformationWeek’s weekly email newsletter on IT leadership and careers issues.

Meanwhile, catch up on the whirlwind that was 2021 here:

Remote Work

Remote Reshapes the Future of Work

CIOs will focus on enabling richer remote work experiences in 2021, and virtual offices could be a part of that picture.

More Remote Work Leads to More Employee Surveillance

Looking to ensure remote worker productivity, organizations are turning to AI and surveillance technology. But 10% of workers are expected to try to subvert those efforts.

Remote Work Tops SF, NYC for Most High-Paying Job Openings

The city with the largest number of high-paying job openings is no longer a city. It's remote work. And the trend is here to stay.

Ways to Build a Talented and Reliable Work-at-Home IT Workforce

COVID-19 forced many organizations to create virtual IT teams. Things worked out so well that a growing number of IT leaders are now looking to build a permanent home-based workforce.

Salary and Compensation

IT Pro Salary Survey: What You Earned in 2020

Did you get a raise in 2020? The InformationWeek 2020 IT Salary Survey lets you know how you stacked up against your peers during a year that was like no other.

Data Engineers in High Demand, Winning High Salaries

Get ready to pay six figures for your new data engineer. Quantitative recruiting firm Burtch Works' first salary survey reveals the salaries and trends impacting these data infrastructure experts.

Data and Analytics Salaries Heat Up in Recovery Economy

After a year of uncertainty, the employment market for data scientists and analytics pros is heating up again.

Talent Crisis and Skills

The IT Talent Crisis: 2 Ways to Hire and Retain

With automation technologies changing the entry-level IT worker’s career path, forward-thinking CIOs should be using automation to free up workers to concentrate on more meaningful work.

Skilling Up the Cybersecurity Workforce of Tomorrow

Training a broader, more inclusive hiring pool in digital security skills may boost career opportunities and address shortages for in-demand talent.

10 Top Skills for Cloud Computing

Experts recommend that IT professionals working in the cloud deepen their understanding of these key areas.

Entry-Level Trends and Advice

How Automation is Changing Entry-Level Career Paths in IT

With automation technologies changing the entry-level IT worker’s career path, forward-thinking CIOs should be using automation to free up workers to concentrate on more meaningful work.

Becoming a Self-Taught Cybersecurity Pro

Cybersecurity pros are in high demand. Here's how one system administrator developed his own personal online night school curriculum to gain the expertise for a successful security career.

Job Advice

Time to Shift Your Job Search Out of Neutral

Just holding onto the job you had was what most people wanted to do a year ago. But the allure of higher salaries may be wooing some IT pros to greener pastures.

10 Tips for Landing a Job in Cybersecurity

Demand for cybersecurity professionals is skyrocketing. What should you do if you want to transition from another area within IT to a security career?

CIO Workforce Topics

How IT Budgets Must Adapt to Remote Work

The pandemic has brought IT to an inflection point to where there is no turning back. This will force CIOs to rethink technology and IT organizational structures, deployments -- and budget.

Should a Top IT Performer Be Allowed to Hold Multiple Organization Roles?

Versatility is an admirable trait in any IT team member. But what happens when a manager allows staffers to stretch their talents too far?

The IT Skills Shortage Expands and Deepens

It's easy to identify the IT sectors experiencing a major shortage of skilled talent: all of them.

Back-to-Office Canceled: The New Phase of IT Spending

As we hit IT budget season for 2022, many organizations are delaying their back-to-the-office plans. Here's what that will mean for CIO IT spending priorities next year.

Why Work-From-Home IT Teams May Be at a Greater Risk for Burnout

Home sweet home can become a sour place for some stressed-out home-based IT employees. Learn how to detect and help burned-out IT homeworkers return to happiness and productivity.

IT Leadership: 11 Future of Work Traits

The COVID-19 pandemic forever changed what the future of work looks like and in 2021 it's still evolving.

Laying Out a Road Map to Close the Cloud Skills Gap

Even with the best intentions to transform, organizations that lack in-house cloud knowledge may struggle to compete.

A Strategy to Aid Underserved Communities and Fill Tech Jobs

Nonprofit DevOps academy takes educational approach to open up career opportunities for the underserved as well as address ongoing demand for IT personnel.

Dealing with Disgruntled Employees

Disgruntled employees can cause a lot of damage. Here's how to recognize when there's an issue and act before it becomes a problem.

How CIO Roles Will Change: The Future of Work

Budgets will shift, and IT leaders must collaborate with HR and facilities teams as work moves from office centers to a new work-from-anywhere structure.

How to Retain Your IT Talent

Employee turnover is expensive, and it's a job seeker's market out there. Here's how to hang onto the talent you already have.

About the Author(s)

Jessica Davis

Senior Editor

Jessica Davis is a Senior Editor at InformationWeek. She covers enterprise IT leadership, careers, artificial intelligence, data and analytics, and enterprise software. She has spent a career covering the intersection of business and technology. Follow her on twitter: @jessicadavis.

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