As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy, many IT workers have experienced layoffs and unpaid furloughs. And as a result, some are looking for new employers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States lost 20.5 million jobs in April 2020, and unemployment rose to 14.7%, which was up 10.3 percentage points from March. According to the agency, that was the largest monthly increase since it began tracking unemployment data in January 1948. And while updated data isn't yet available, experts say that layoffs continued into May.
While the technology industry wasn't as hard hit as some other parts of the economy, IT staffers are definitely feeling some pain. Industry group CompTIA reported that the tech sector lost 111,900 positions in April alone.
Foote Research Group's analysis of the tech jobs data was even more pessimistic. It said, "2020 began with a bang for IT professionals with 25,300 tech jobs added to US payrolls in the first two months, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But by March this number dropped to only 6,000 new IT jobs, and then the bottom dropped out in April with the BLS reporting a stunning net loss of 181,300 tech jobs in America."
Still, not all the news is grim.
Despite the dire economic situation, some US companies are still hiring IT professionals. CompTIA noted that there were 270,000 job postings for core IT professionals in April.
So which companies are hiring? The following slides highlight 10 different industries that currently have open positions for tech workers. (Note that this is not a ranking and the industries are not arranged in any particular order.) If you're looking for a new job, here are some places you might want to look.
During the pandemic, many parts of the country have mandated that only "essential workers" continue going to their place of employment. While the workers considered essential varies from region to region, law enforcement personnel always make the list. And as local governments begin to plan for reduced budgets in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, many are looking to increase their reliance on technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their front-line personnel. As a result, law enforcement agencies and tech firms that serve the law enforcement sector have increased their hiring. For example, law enforcement technology provider Axon reported that it has added 200 open positions in recent weeks.
Like law enforcement, the defense industry is also looking for technology professionals. Because defense contracts tend to cover long periods of time, military suppliers are less vulnerable to short-term variations in the economy. Of course, over the long term, the government spending to combat the effects of the coronavirus may necessitate cutbacks in defense spending. But for now, several defense contractors are still hiring. And because today's military is more digital than ever, that necessarily means that the contractors need a lot of technical workers. According to job posting site Indeed, the list of companies that have posted new tech job openings during the pandemic includes defense contractors like Northrup Grumman, Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin.
Banking and Finance
Many local bank branches are closed or open by appointment only, but people still need to do their banking. Consequently, the financial services industry has seen an uptick in people doing their banking online. In addition, because people are making so many purchases online and/or using their credit cards when they visit physical stores, credit card issuers and processers are also seeing an increase in digital transactions. Also, businesses are getting loans from the government, and unemployed workers are getting direct deposits from state agencies. All those phenomena mean that the financial services industry needs more people who can help with the uptick in digital business. According to Indeed, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are among the financial institutions posting tech jobs during the pandemic.
Consulting and Professional Services
US businesses have never really faced a crisis like this one before. In response, they are looking for help managing their risk, reducing expenses, and preparing a new strategy that will allow them the to survive -- and perhaps even thrive -- during and after the pandemic. Some companies are also looking to outsource some of their work as a way to deal with the current situation. It shouldn't be surprising then that consulting and professional services firms like Accenture and Deloitte are among those posting new tech job openings.
Because people are staying home, they are getting a lot more things delivered. That has meant an increase in business for shipping, trucking, logistics, and delivery companies. And these companies aren't only hiring more drivers -- they also need more IT workers to support their operations. Many are particularly looking for cloud, cybersecurity, and development specialists. Within this industry, household names like UPS and FedEx have IT job openings. So do some delivery startups like DoorDash, Postmates, and Grubhub.
Of course, it's not only the delivery services that need more IT personnel to support the increase in ecommerce, the online retailers also need more tech workers. Amazon might be the best example in this category. At the time of writing the ecommerce behemoth had 740 business intelligence, 207 data science, 46 database administration, 282 hardware development, 424 machine learning science, 1,781 technical project management, 8,736 software development, 3,783 solutions architect, and 1,951 operations, IT, and support engineering jobs available. Other online merchants are also looking to increase the size of their IT staff.
One of the biggest changes to American life during the pandemic has been that education moved almost entirely to an online model. That radical shift has meant that education institutions and suppliers needed to dramatically increase their technical staff overnight. Pearson, which is one of the largest digital learning companies, is looking to fill a long list of software engineer positions, as well as many other technical positions. In addition, school districts, colleges, and universities all across the country need to hire more IT staff to support the new learning models.
While some technology firms have slowed or halted hiring, others are still adding workers. A CompTIA survey found that while 32% of tech firms have postponed recruiting for now, 13% actually hired new workers during the pandemic. Hiring is particularly strong at tech firms that are seeing increased customer inquiries during the crisis, such as communications, collaboration, and A/V technologies (40%); cybersecurity (36%); general consulting (35%); and cloud computing (33%) firms. Those hiring include teleconferencing vendors like Zoom and some of the tech giants like Apple and Microsoft.
Healthcare, Pharmacy, and Biotech
The pandemic has had a mixed impact on the healthcare industry. On the one hand, many organizations have been swamped with COVID-19 patients, but others have laid off doctors and nurses as patients postpone non-emergency care. However, all kinds of providers are doing more telemedicine, which has increased the need for IT support. In addition, pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, and biotech firms like Genentech also have current tech job openings. Some pharmaceutical companies are also hiring IT staff as they ramp up their efforts to find vaccines and treatments for the novel coronavirus.
Fast Food and Pizza Chains
Fast food might not be the first kind of organization that comes to mind when you think of IT hiring, but many chain restaurants have armies of IT staff to support their digital operations. And during the pandemic, many consumers have been increasing their pizza orders and more frequently visiting the drive-thru while dine-in restaurants were closed. Business is booming for some of these companies -- and so is their need for tech workers. Right now, McDonalds has openings related to cybersecurity, machine learning, and application development. Other chain restaurants looking for IT help include Little Caesars, Pizza Hut, and Domino's.Cynthia Harvey is a freelance writer and editor based in the Detroit area. She has been covering the technology industry for more than fifteen years. View Full Bio