Sunday, May 15, 2011

IT Job conditions: Are we moving up or down?

The IT job market appears to be holding steady for now .In the near term the determining factor whether this trend will continue is the larger economy and whether or not we experience a “double dip recession. Earlier in the year there appeared to be a little more optimism and that according to CIO/CEO surveys, but that optimism is marginally declined

If we don’t have the next recession in the near future, then the new technologies like the cloud, SaaS etc. will engender IT job creation. Also, job changing, a traditional aspect of the IT industry, has been stymied since 2009 by the economic slowdown, and that has created a pent-up demand for the job changer. Workers also see moving to another job as one of the few ways to increase their compensation which has remained static since the financial meltdown in late 2008. An interesting aside to the compensation issue is that according a hiring survey entry level IT hires have received a five percent decline in their starting salary.

On the other hand, if such macro-economic factors like energy prices continue on their upward trajectory, then that may cause a decline in the demand for new employees, or even significant new rounds of lay-offs. Also, the coming US presidential election in 2012 could make some disgruntled employers wait for the results before hiring trends to trend upward. Lastly, the global economic and political stability or instability could be a factor in the direction of hiring.

How these situations unfold will determine if we experience an increase or decrease in general confidence in the economy. My best hunch based on 20 years of viewing these hiring trends that for the most part hiring will remain stable till the next election. Beyond 2012 we should see more a more pronounced upward or downward movement in IT hiring. One additional troubling factor