IT Hiring Remains Strong Despite Economic Fears

IT hiring has been on the rise since the start of 2011, and IT staffing executives expect that growth to continue through the rest of the year, despite recent bad economic news.

Mon, August 15, 2011

CIO — IT professionals looking for new jobs need not fear that the recent spate of bad economic news will hamper their job searches. IT staffing industry executives agree that IT hiring in the U.S. will remain robust through the end of the year, bucking renewed fears of a double dip recession recently brought on by stock market corrections, the ongoing debt crisis in Europe and the U.S., and Standard &Poor's downgrade of America's credit rating.

"Despite the economic woes we've been hearing about, I haven't on the ground seen any change in demand [for IT workers]," says Shane Bernstein, managing director of IT staffing firm Q. "In fact, demand keeps increasing. Every week I hear [from our clients], 'We have a lot more positions coming down the pipeline that we need to fill.'"

Q works with small, midsize and large companies in technology and other industries. "No one has put budgets on hold. No one has put hiring freezes on," adds Bernstein. "The economy hasn't affected us yet. This is not to say that it won't, but I haven't seen it."

Andrew Speer, senior vice president of technology services for IT staffing firm Technisource, and Jeff Freeland, CEO of Santa Clara, Calif.-based Astreya, are also bullish about the IT job market through the end of the year. Speer says requests for temporary workers, temp-to-perm hires and permanent placements are all on the rise at Technisource. Consequently, he adds, IT workers are in a "wonderful" position to land new jobs.

Astreya's staffing business, which specializes in placing IT infrastructure workers (systems administrators, network engineers and system and network architects), is also growing--by 27 percent over the last year, says Freeland.

Speer admits that he was nervous about Technisource's services business 10 days ago, when the stock market bottomed out and S&P announced its downgrade. He thought those events might cause Technisource's customers to begin putting some IT projects on the backburner, but like Q's Bernstein, he has not observed or heard of any customers delaying any projects.

Astreya's staffing business hasn't been affected by this most recent round of bad economic news either. "Across the board, we haven't heard one client say, 'Because of this downgrade or because of the economy in the U.S. or Europe, we're going to slow things down,'" says Freeland. "We've been reassured by our clients that things are going to continue. They're still hiring and hiring faster across the board in different skillsets. That's as good a guarantee as we're going to get."

Even many IT professionals are optimistic about the job market. Forty-four percent of those polled by staffing firm Technisource during the second quarter reported feeling confident they could find a new job. Nearly three-quarters (71 percent) of IT professionals aren't worried about getting laid off. In fact, IT professionals' confidence in their employers' futures climbed to its highest level—70 percentage points—since the fourth quarter of 2007.

CIOs are slightly more cautious about their hiring plans than the staffing executives. According to a survey of 1,054 IT decision-makers conducted between May 26 and June 3, 2011 on behalf of technology solutions provider CDW, only 19 percent of IT departments plan to hire in the next six months. The better news? Only seven percent anticipate staff cuts.

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