An ongoing sluggish economy and fears over the war in Iraq restrained U.S. IT hiring in the fourth quarter of last year to levels well below those seen in the third quarter, according to a newly released survey commissioned by the Information Technology Association of America and online job board company Dice Inc.
At the same time, the number of IT job dismissals continued to fall in the fourth quarter. The result, the survey indicated, was a small, 3.3 percent net gain in IT jobs in the United States in the fourth quarter to a total of 10.2 million.
The fourth quarter results undermined what had appeared in the third quarter to be increas-ing IT hiring momentum. In the third quarter of last year, the ITAA/Dice survey found a net gain of 147,000 IT jobs in the United States. In the fourth quarter, that number dropped to 97,000.
The good news for IT professionals, however, was that the number of IT dismissals has been falling consistently since early last year. The number of IT workers dismissed in the fourth quarter of 2002 was 168,000. That was far below the 211,000 dismissed in the third quarter of last year and the 350,000 dismissed in both the second and first quarters of 2002.
Hiring managers surveyed by the ITAA and Dice said IT professionals with Java skills were the most in-demand in the fourth quarter. Also sought after were professionals with database (Oracle and Microsoft), C, C++ and Windows NT skills.
Database developers saw the biggest percentage hiring growth in 2002, according to the survey. The number of employed database developers grew by 6.6 percent to 1,020,244.
The results were based on telephone interviews with 300 hiring managers.
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