IT Employment Opportunities Persist Despite Weak Job Market: Foote Partners
While the unemployment rate in the United States remains stubbornly high and the population becomes increasingly frustrated with the lack of job opportunities-the month of August saw no gains in the job market and there was a rise in "discouraged workers"--professionals in the IT space fared better, with 13,700 more jobs added in the technical services segment, the largest monthly increase since April 2011.
In a continuing trend of the shifting of the more traditional infrastructure-type IT hiring to the services industries by employers who are choosing to source more of these jobs externally, 6,000 new jobs were added in the management and technical consulting services and another 7,700 jobs in the computer systems design and related services employment segments in August-2,200 more than in July---for a total of 122,700 added in these segments over the past 12 months (70,800 in last six months).
Employment numbers released Sept. 2 by the Department of Labor-s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed a net gain of 13,700 IT services sector jobs in August, representing the 15th consecutive month of positive job growth in these job segments in federal employment data. Overall, nonfarm payroll employment was unchanged last month and the national unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent.
"The trend of employers no longer wishing to employ large numbers of their own full-timers in what are mostly pure technology IT jobs has been building steam over a very long period of time," said David Foote, CEO at IT analyst firm Foote Partners that publishes national labor trend research. "It-s not something that just began with the popularity of cloud computing, managed services and this new wave of domestic outsourcing, although certainly the widespread acceptance these alternatives sources for skills has been a big factor in the acceleration of what we-ve been witnessing in the federal employment reports over the past several months."
Meanwhile 47,300 jobs were lost in the two other IT-related jobs segments, telecommunications and data processing, hosting and related services, which the Foote report called an "aberration" caused by a labor strike in the telecommunications industry that removed 45,000 worker from company payrolls during the August survey reference period. This is in contrast to an average monthly loss of 2,483 jobs in these segments in the prior six months (2,708 monthly losses over prior 12 months).
"At this point I don-t think anyone should be surprised that skills acquisition, not recruiting full time people, has been the bigger focus in the past few years for employers managing IT resources. Much of this acquisition has been accomplished by farming work out to consultants and contractors, to part time employees, offshore vendors and to managed services and cloud computing suppliers," Foote explained. "As a result, the revenue growth numbers in the services industries have been strong and the forecasts for continued expansion equally robust."