IT Skills Demand Driving Managed Services, SAAS, Cloud Adoption

Technology services jobs have gained the most jobs over the summer months, according to government labor figures. Deeper analysis of the widest range of jobs in technology shows continued reluctance on full-time hiring and consistent opportunity for contractors and consultants on funded projects.

A closer look at U.S. government data on technology jobs shows IT services--known as those jobs that fall under the category management and technology services to be the most robust area of technology employment over the last four months. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which falls under the direction of the U.S. Department of Labor, released data that showed roughly 28,600 technology jobs were gained between June and September--and nearly 70 percent of those jobs (19,500) were in IT services.

What's driving demand in IT services? A combination of the reluctance to hire significant numbers of full-time employees and an emphasis of renting, leasing or contracting technology work for very specific needs, surmises technology job analysts Foote Partners in an Oct. 12 statement on IT job volatility and analysis of the latest BLS technology job data.

"Beyond the fact that it's more expensive to hire full timers, it can take months to find the right person even though the number of unemployed workers is so large," said David Foote, chief research officer of Foote Partners in a statement. "And that works against all the pressure on IT leaders right now to be more agile, react faster and execute more quickly. This is stimulating interest in managed services, cloud computing, SAAS, PAAS, IAAS, contractors and consultants. It is also contributing to all this volatility in pay and demand for skills and people."

Other areas of IT seeing a small increase in hiring include communications equipment and computer and peripheral equipment, which have seen gains of almost 6,000 jobs since March, according to Foote Partner's analysis of government technology categories. The other two categories--data processing and hosting and computer systems design--experienced losses in September. Computer systems design added 9,800 jobs in July and August, but lost roughly 900 jobs in September. Data processing and hosting has suffered the worst losses in five of the last seven months with a reduction of 6,000 jobs.

"[I]t is important to point out that businesses are looking to the IT services industry to help them get their work done and this has created some healthy jobs growth in the sector," said Foote. "They're not depending entirely on consultants and managed services--many of our clients are indeed also hiring workers with specific skills and experience--but it's clear that demand for full-time workers outside the services sector in particular has not gained the kind of momentum that many analysts and pundits had been predicting earlier this year."