Tech Pros Were Happier With Jobs Last Month, But More Worried About Layoffs

Renewed confidence about personal finances and improved job satisfaction provided a boost, but the survey showed that optimism was diluted by growing concerns about end-of-year layoffs.
Fatter wallets helped IT professionals feel a bit more confident about jobs in November, but they are increasingly worried about layoffs, according to a new report released on Wednesday by Hudson, a professional staffing firm.

Compared to a base score of 100, IT pros ranked job confidence 101.1 in November, up 2.2 points from October. The slight boost was due primarily to renewed confidence about personal finances and improved job satisfaction, says Hudson executive VP Kevin Knaul. However, that optimism was diluted by growing concerns about end-of-year layoffs, he says.

With gas prices easing a bit in recent weeks, nearly 48% of IT and telecom workers said their own financial situations were improving compared to only 38% who felt that way in October. However, more tech pros—27% in November vs. 22% in October—were worried about losing their jobs.

"This is the time of year when projects come to an end for both temporary and full-time workers, and budgets for the next year are still being put together," says Knaul. This all contributes to IT pros' anxiety about layoffs, he says.

Still, more tech workers in November—76%—said they were satisfied with their jobs, compared to 71% in October.

Looking ahead to 2006, Knaul says demand will likely remain strong for pros with skills related to Oracle and SAP software, as well as Java and .Net developers. Also hot are business analysts, "tech pros that are very business facing" and help companies ensure that "the IT department is solving business problems," he says.

The second half of 2006 will likely bring "potential sustained spending" in IT for many companies, especially those that plan to implement new versions of Oracle and SAP software, says Knaul. "New technology spending will come out of the financial firms and high-tech companies," he predicts.

Hudson conducts monthly surveys of about 9,000 workers in several sectors, including more than 500 IT and telecom workers. Other sectors include health care, manufacturing, accounting, and financial services.

In November, IT workers were about as confident about jobs as workers overall in other sectors nationally. The national index fell slightly—0.4 points—to 100.1 in November.

However, the most optimistic workers last month were those in accounting and financial services—who rated a 108.8—and then health care, whose workers ranked their overall job confidence at 106.3. As usual, workers in the manufacturing sector were the glummest, rating job confidence at 88.2.

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