Sensing a Bubble, IT Worker Optimism Plunges

By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-10-24

The third quarter exhibited a sharp drop in IT worker confidence, as an increasing number of technology professionals say they believe that the economy is weakening, according to the IT Employee Confidence Index published by Spherion Corporation, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based recruiting and staffing company, on Oct. 24.

Spherions employee confidence index, which measures workers confidence in their personal employment situation as well as their economic optimism, measured 54.1 for the third quarter of 2006, lower than the U.S. economy at large, which came in at 57.3.

This is a reversal of Q2 2006, when IT confidence came in ahead of the larger economy, at 58.4 versus 57.6 respectively.

Forty-four percent of IT workers said that the economy was getting weaker in Q3, up from 40 percent in Q2.

These numbers caught up with those from U.S. workers as a whole, 43 percent of whom had said the economy was getting weaker in Q2, up to 44 percent in Q3.

IT workers are equally wary of job ability and their ability to find a new one, when looking.

Forty-four percent responded that there were fewer jobs available in Q3, up from 38 percent in Q2, and only 52 percent of tech professionals were confident they would be able to find a new job in Q3, down from 57 percent in Q2.

The bad vibe didnt end there, as 17 percent of IT pros said they were not confident in the future of their current employer, up from 16 percent in Q2.

Click here to read more about IT worker confidence.

"On the surface, this quarters data may seem contradictory, but the tech sector itself is operating counter-intuitively," said Brendan Courtney, senior vice president of Spherion Professional Services, in a statement.

"IT workers are still being enticed to stay with their current employers through a series of retention efforts which may explain why even more of them are confident in their own job security.

"However, recent news and rumors out of Silicon Valley may have IT workers more anxious about another tech bubble. Record highs for the Dow, billion-dollar Web 2.0 acquisitions and a flood of me too startups going live every day could be giving some workers flashbacks of 2001, but I dont think that is the case."

In a bright spot, the number of IT workers who reported that it was unlikely that they would lose their jobs grew to 73 percent in the third quarter, up three percent from the second quarter of 2006.

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