Still Plenty of Entry-Level IT Jobs Going Begging

The average number of open IT service and support positions in American companies has more than tripled since 1999, according to new research from CompTIA.

In spite of the sour economy and the highest unemployment rate in four years, the average number of open IT service and support positions in American companies has more than tripled since 1999, according to new research from the Computing Technology Industry Association, a non-profit trade association.

The study, "The Ongoing Crisis in IT Management," was conducted between May and June—which actually may have a lot to do with the robust numbers, experts say. "People were more optimistic that the economy would turn around," noted Barb Gomolski, an analyst at Gartner Inc., in Fallbrook, Calif. "People were still spending a lot on e-business, putting in new systems. Obviously thats been halted, to a varying extent, based on the industry and the company."

CompTIA polled CIOs and managers at companies with sales of $20 million or more. The research found that the average number of unfilled IT service and support positions at a given company is 2.1, with an average IT department size of 25.6. That compares with an average of 0.6 open positions in average departments of 20.2 people in 1999.

Its not surprising that service and support positions are still going begging if you consider the fact that many of the positions are entry-level. Think help desk, experts say. "Its obviously a very in-demand position," Gomolski said. "It is an area where you have constant turnover. The good people get promoted. The not-so-good leave."

Sixty-one percent of CIOs are turning to outsourcing to cover at least part of that shortfall—almost twice the 37 percent who turned to outsourcing in 1999, the study found.