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Techies Got Winter Blues About Jobs And Finances In January

Tech pros were slightly less optimistic about their personal finances and more were unhappy with their jobs in January, according to a report by professional staffing and outsourcing firm Hudson.
After being in a great mood about their jobs December, tech pros were slightly less optimistic about their personal finances and more were unhappy with their jobs in January, according to the latest monthly IT employment confidence report released by Hudson, a professional staffing and outsourcing firm.

Overall, IT job confidence among technology professionals slipped 6.3 points from December, falling to 109 in January, according to Hudson's phone survey of more than 9,000 workers in several industries, including nearly 500 in telecom and IT.

Still, the 109 rating wasn't bad; IT job confidence fell near or below the base score of 100 for a few months in 2005. Tech pros were also more optimistic than workers overall across all industries, who rated their employment confidence at 102.6 in January, down 0.8 points from December.

The dip in job confidence shouldn't set off alarms, says Hudson executive VP Kevin Knaul. The slight decreases in confidence about personal finances, job satisfaction, and overall optimism could be a leveling off from the spike seen in December, in which IT job confidence soared to over 115, he says. "December was an anomaly," he says. Now, concerns about issues like rising gas prices are starting to kick in again, which dampens moods, he says.

Overall, Knaul says he expects steady, moderate growth in hiring during the first half of 2006, but stronger growth in the second half.

In January, only 51% of techies rated their personal finances favorably, down from 57% in December. Also, while 74% of tech pros said they were happy with their jobs, that number slipped 2% from December. Despite those declines, IT workers last month were less worried about losing their jobs than they were in December. In January, 71% of techies said they weren't worried about being laid off, compared to 67% who felt that way in December.

It turns out that, as tax season approaches, the most optimistic group of workers last month were in the accounting and financial services sector, which rated their job confidence at 112.6. As always, the least optimistic workers were in the manufacturing sector, which rated job confidence at 90.3

Among technology workers, the hottest skills sets right now are for business analysts, especially for ERP, and project managers, he says. Pay rates for those pros have increased about 5% to 10% since last year, he says. Current pay for Hudson's contracted business analysts average about $75 to $85 an hour, and over $100 per hour for more experienced analysts, he says.

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