High Tech Job Trends

The technology sector has been a dynamic industry but it too has suffered during the recession.

Despite soaring profits this year, high-tech companies have been slow to hire, salaries have stagnated, as have training and career growth. Employment growth in computer systems design and Internet publishing has been weak over the last year, and employment has fallen in fields such as data processing and software publishing. The unemployment rate for computer scientists, systems analysts and computer programmers was around 6 percent in the second quarter of this year. While this is looks good compared to manufacturing, it is not so great as compared to other white-collar professions.

And the trend risks being aggravated.

Hiring in high-tech is affected by insecurity, increased automation, outsourcing increasingly commoditized jobs to cheaper labor pools, and the reported lack of highly skilled engineering talent in the United States. Some prominent companies that laid off workers during the recession, like I.B.M., are expanding their work forces abroad, according to Economists who follow highly skilled employment. “Certainly a lot of these I.T. services firms plus the core software firms like Oracle are globalizing their work, or, as they put it, ‘rebalancing’ their work forces,” says Ronil Hira, an assistant professor of public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Jim Davidson, of Silver Lake partners, in a discussion at the Bloomberg Dealmakers Summit, a lot of the technology companies’ cash is offshore and a lot of activity is focused on offshore assets because of the tax hit on repatriating their balance sheet capital. There is definitely some pick up, strategics are looking more to deploy capital where they’re not earning any interest on their cash balance and more of an emphasis on growth than “ever before”.

The hottest IT careers  next year.

According to the 2010 IBM Tech Trends Survey will be in mobile and cloud computing, social media, business analytics, and industry-specific technologies starting next year. The survey finds that 63% of IT professionals who responded feel they lack the industry knowledge necessary to be competitive. The top four industries identified as offering the greatest opportunity for career expansion are: Telecommunications, financial services, healthcare, and energy and utilities. Nonetheless, a report authored by The Phoenix Center warns of the loss of 327,600 direct and indirect jobs in the information sector as a result of various regulatory proposals under consideration at the FCC. For details, read the policy paper (see related articles).

Related articles

NY Times: Once a Dynamo, the Tech Sector Is Slow to Hire http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/07/business/economy/07jobs.html?pagewanted=1

Computer World: Flat pay turns IT workers into job seekers http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9189466/Flat_pay_turns_IT_workers_into_job_seekers

Phoenix Center: Jobs Jobs Jobs: Communications Policy And Employment Effects in the Information Sector http://www.phoenix-center.org/PolicyBulletin/PCPB25Final.pdf

2010 IBM Tech Trends Survey http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/aboutdw/2010survey-results/index.html

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