IT Contract Work Is Up, Permanent Hiring Slowly Increasing

Technology contractors appear to be seeing the best growth rates in hiring. For high-demand IT architecture and project management jobs, the salary picture is promising.

If you have in-demand skills, your asking price is probably above market rate-even with the slow growth of technology jobs, say hiring managers and recruiters polled in an August survey by online job board

Fifty-one percent of 1,350 IT decision makers polled said they are having to sweeten salaries for highly sought-after tech talent, though about 22 percent of workers are not willing to leave their current jobs. Caution about the economy is still in the air for employers and workers alike. But if you are receiving offers, don't be afraid to try to get the best salary possible.

"Indeed, money dominates the enticement list, whether it's higher salaries or sign-on bonuses sometimes necessary to help with relocation," Tom Silver, senior vice president of Dice, said in a Sept. 8 statement. "But No. 3 on the list might surprise you: flexible work options, including telecommuting."

The rise of telecommuting is one of those win/win situations for employers and employees alike: Companies get to save on office space costs such as leases, power consumption and insurance, and employees get to stay closer to their families, save on commuting costs and have a bit more hourly flexibility. Plus, employees will more likely start their days earlier thanks to a nonexistent commute.

"Technology jobs with a telecommuting option have doubled on the Dice site year [over] year," Silver said. "Still, they remain less than 1 percent of the total jobs available. Corporations may want to consider giving more tech employees the option of telecommuting. Not only might such a policy attract and keep talent, it can offer real cost savings, as well."

For early September, Dice is reporting over 40,000 full-time vacancies and nearly 33,000 contract-based job vacancies. Those numbers are up from August's numbers of nearly 39,000 full-time and 31,000 contract positions.

Full-time permanent hiring is showing "a slow uptick" but is occurring the most in technology fields right now, Mike Barker, a senior vice president with placement company Manpower, told in a Sept. 1 article on hiring trends. IT architects, project managers and those with change management experience are in the most demand, Barker said.

Online job vacancies nationally were down in August by 57,100 postings across all industries, according to The Conference Board, which tracks job demand in its monthly Help Wanted Online report. Computer-related job postings were down by 14,000 to 572,700, whereas in July vacancies were up by 31,800. The Conference Board wrote in its Sept. 1 report:

"Among the top ten occupations advertised online, there were more vacancies than unemployed people seeking positions for Computer and Mathematical Science (0.3), Healthcare Practitioners (0.4), and Architecture and Engineering (0.9)."