The unemployment rate for technology professionals fell to 3.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 from 3.9 percent in the preceding quarter, according to the latest jobs report from Web-based tech jobs portal Dice. For the year, the tech unemployment rate averaged 3.5 percent, edging down slightly from the year before.
In Dice’s recent hiring survey, 42 percent of tech-focused corporate hiring managers reported an uptick in voluntary departures during 2013, up from 33 percent who said the same thing at mid-year.
Fresh data from Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs survey concurs, finding 474,800 employees in professionals and business services voluntarily quit their positions on average monthly since July, up from 402,500 professionals in the ﬁrst half of the year.
In 2013, unemployment rates improved for software developers, Web developers, database administrators, programmers, network architects and systems administrators, systems analysts and support specialists, as compared to the previous year.
In data processing, hosting and related services, no new jobs were added in the fourth quarter. That said, 3,400 jobs were created in the year, accelerating from last year’s gain of 2,400 new positions.
Meanwhile, tech consulting added 14,000 new positions in the quarter and 54,300 jobs during the year. The report noted while the rate of growth has slowed from the previous year, this category now employs 1.7 million professionals on a consistent monthly basis.
"Recruiting activity for technology professionals continues to be good, but it’s not rising evenly. This data just reinforces it’s a better job market for developers and data professionals," Shravan Goli, president of Dice, said in a statement. "Those tech professionals can write their own ticket and create the career they want."
The increased rate of voluntary departures is having additional positive effects for the tech jobs market: One job change opens up opportunities not only for the tech professional who switched, but another needs to ﬁll that position and then another and another.
"That domino eﬀect can trigger career growth for many tech professionals and instill conﬁdence in the job market," the report said.
That conﬁdence is reinforced by another record-breaking statistic. Layoﬀs and discharges in professional and business services averaged 321,000 professionals in the ﬁrst two months of the fourth quarter, the lowest level on record.
A December report from Dice suggested IT professionals will be in a better position to negotiate with new employers in 2014. Employers will be working harder to retain current professionals and attract new ones, according to the study, which was based on a survey of nearly 900 tech-focused hiring managers and recruiters.
As IT unemployment remains significantly below the national average and businesses continue to search for employees with the right mix of skills, the study also suggests more job security and fewer layoffs.