Job Openings in Technology Rose in September, Report Says

The economy is on a slow growth path in 2010, but online demand for technical workers saw a sharp increase in September. Systems engineering and Web development are hot fields right now, according to research by The Conference Board.

Online job vacancies rose by nearly 60,000 open positions in September, according to data measured monthly by The Conference Board, a nonprofit business research organization. Since June 2009, online job vacancies have expanded by 1 million positions-an increase of 30 percent.

In September, technology saw the most job-vacancy gain of any industry, with 15,200 newly advertised job opportunities. Technology workers have not seen this much demand since September 2008, said the report. Here are some of key details:

"Computer and Mathematical Science occupations posted the largest September increase, up 15,200 to 587,900, offsetting the 14,000 loss in August. The increase was largely due to rising demand for computer software engineers (systems software) and web developers. [...] Demand for workers in this occupational category exceeds the number of unemployed looking for work by just over 3 to 1."

Demand increased in the fields of transportation, architecture and engineering, and administration; demand declined in sales, health care, and the business and financial fields. Health care technology work continues to be a rising star in 2010 as practitioners are gearing up for government-mandated electronic health record compliance. The slump in health care jobs was in support positions, the report said:

"In August [...] advertised vacancies for healthcare practitioners or technical occupations outnumbered the unemployed looking for work in this field by over 2 to 1, and the average wage in these occupations is $33.51/hour. [...] In sharp contrast, the average wage for healthcare support occupations is $12.84/hour and there were nearly 3 unemployed looking for work in the field for every advertised vacancy."

Despite the good news for tech workers, unemployment across all industries is still an issue and affects the outlook on the economy. According to The Conference Board, there are 3.51 unemployed workers for every available online job vacancy, but that is down from the peak of 4.73 in October 2009.

"Since the NBER [National Bureau of Economic Research] June 2009 end of the recession, HWOL [Help Wanted Online] has increased by 1 million advertised vacancies," June Shelp, vice president of The Conference Board, said in a statement. "The HWOL series trough in April 2009 led the NBER official trough by about two months, reflecting a rather typical pattern where labor demand leads at economic turning points. Following the rapid HWOL rises in labor demand in the fourth quarter [of] 2009 and first quarter [of] 2010, labor demand has now settled into more modest growth, pointing to a moderate growth in employment through the end of 2010."