IT Job Market Improving, Gradually

Long-term IT growth, driven by the Obama administration’s interest in healthcare and cybersecurity, is looking more robust than short-term growth.
Federal, state, and local governments are all expected to increase spending on technology over the next five years, creating jobs across a wide range of industries and government agencies, according to a series of new reports.

The short-term outlook is not as bright, though. Although a small number of corporate chief information officers expect to be hiring this quarter, according to one study, many are wrestling with flat or falling IT budgets and trying to cut costs.

Driven by the Obama administration’s interest in healthcare, cybersecurity, and better interagency communication, the Federal government is expected to boost spending on information technology to $90.3 billion, up 3.5 percent by 2014.

State and local governments, meanwhile, are expected to boost spending by 3.9 percent to $60.1 billion by 2014.

Chief areas of interest for the federal government are healthcare, cybersecurity, energy and government transparency, according to Input, a consultant in Arlington, Virginia, that issued the reports.

Cloud computing initiatives in particular stand to grow as U.S. government agencies are forging ahead with plans to adopt cloud services or build their own.

States too are interested in healthcare, but are also looking at technology for education, public safety, social services and transportation, Input said.

Most corporate chief information officers -- 85 percent -- don’t plan to hire this quarter and 6 percent said they will cut back, according to a survey developed by Robert Half Technology, a recruiter in Menlo Park, California, for 1,400 CIOs at companies of at least 100 employees.

Eight percent of the CIOs told Robert Half they are hiring, however, and nearly three quarters are looking for people who know network administration. Other skills in demand are Windows server administration and desktop support. Jobs are most likely to be found in transportation, communications and utilities, followed by professional services and finance, insurance, and real estate.

A second survey of 202 North American IT managers by Computer Economics found that nearly half plan to cut jobs this year and around a quarter are hiring.

The IT job market does appear to be doing better than the job market as a whole. According to the Labor Department’s most recent monthly employment report, for May, jobs were still being cut faster than they were being created.

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