Government data for June showed a gain of 9,100 technology jobs, but the numbers in the five categories are fluctuating dramatically from month to month.
The jobs situation for technology
workers is rocky. It is reflective of the larger economic picture in 2010. Data
put out on June from the Department of Labor showed an increase of more than 9,000
jobs. It is welcome news, especially for those who have found employment.
The bigger jobs picture,
however, continues to be murky and unpredictable.
"The accent in the IT
work force right now is on acquiring skills more than it is on hiring full time
employees," said David Foote, founder and chief research officer of Foote
Partners, an information technology analyst firm, in a July 3 research note.
"Beyond the fact that it's more expensive to hire full-timers, it can take
months to find the right person even though the number of unemployed workers is
so large... This is stimulating interest in managed services, cloud computing,
SAAS, PAAS, IAAS, contractors and consultants. It's also contributing to all
this volatility in pay and demand for skills and people."
According to Foote,
government figures for IT jobs are outdated as they only track 4 million
workers; Foote estimates technology workers to number between 20 million and 25 million.
"The DOL data doesn't
specifically identify millions of IT professionals working in business lines,
corporate departments and in various enterprise strategic and operational
functions," said Foote. "These jobs require skills well beyond technology; for
instance, precise industry, customer, product, and solution knowledge and
"That said, we're still
seeing this same see-sawing in our own broader jobs research, and also in the
market for IT skills. With so much economic pessimism out there it is certain
that this volatility will persist, thwarting any positive momentum that might
show up from time to time."
The see-sawing has been intense.
Most job categories the Department of Labor tracks have seen wide fluctuations.
IT Services saw an increase of more than 10,000 in June; In May, that segment lost
700 jobs. Management and Technical Consulting has been on the same
rollercoaster, losing 5,000 jobs in January, 3,400 in February, with gains of
2,100 total for March and April.
The Computer Systems
Design category has also been a wild ride. After gaining 7,300 jobs in April,
this category lost a total of 6,400 jobs in May and June.
What IT services and
skills are in demand right now?
"What we're seeing is
demand for IT services fueling very selective hiring in certain hot sectors
including ERP, virtualization, security, SAN storage, business
process management, Web platforms, and a few other applications development
areas," noted Foote. "Basically job demand in the services sector will rise and
fall throughout the remainder of the year based on when employers decide to the
pull the trigger on spending budget allocations that have already been