Hiring Budgets Begin to Thaw

Research from Challenger, Gray & Christmas shows employers are planning to replenish their workforce as the economic recovery gets underway.

Employers could be filling IT positions in the coming months, research suggests, as the number of positions expected to be created could begin to outpace anticipated job cuts in some industries.

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Hiring budgets could be coming out of the deep freeze initiated at the start of the economic recession, according to industry watchers. Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports that employers in September began to detail plans to hire more workers than they did in 2008. Through September 2009, employers have announced plans to hire 169,385 workers this year, marking an 88% increase over the nearly 90,000 planned hires announced in the first three quarters of 2008. The sectors planning the most hires include the retail, government and nonprofit, and enterprise and leisure industries.

Employers in the telecommunications industry announced 6,339 planned hires for 2009, compared to 2,689 last year. Aerospace and defense employers intend to add 2,618 new position, less than the 4,709 in the previous year. Electronics companies are expecting to add 1,765 new jobs, another decline from 2008’s 3,013 planned positions. E-commerce vendors reported they would augment staff with 1,572 new openings, an increase over the 500 added in 2008. And while the computer industry reportedly announced 7,717 new hires, the data Challenger, Gray & Christmas tracked so far this year shows the industry isn’t planning any new hires so far in 2009.

“These figures represent just a tiny fraction of the hiring and available jobs out there. We track hiring announcements,” said John Challenger, CEO at the outplacement firm, in a statement.

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Challenger, Gray & Christmas also cited recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data that showed 2.4 million job openings as of August, down from 3.9 million in 2008. And the same government agency reported that 4 million workers were hired in August, despite the unemployment rate nearing 10%. 

“There is no doubt that this is a tight job market. There simply are more job seekers than there are jobs. However, it would be a mistake to assume that no one is hiring,” Challenger said.

Separately, IT research firm Foote Partners also found cause for optimism in recent government statistics. David Foote, CEO and chief research officer, said in a statement that while high-tech industry segments have been posting job losses, they are losing fewer jobs and in some cases adding positions. For instance, “five IT bellwether job segments” have posted collective job losses of between 4,000 and 11,000 jobs each month (including 4,300 lost in August), but also showed gains such as 7,400 positions in July

“Consider that according to the Department of Labor’s labor market segmentation there has been a net loss of 32,600 IT related jobs since January 2009, but a net gain of 1,400 since July, it’s clear that we’re heading in the right direction,” Foote said. “We continue to maintain optimism for the rest of the year, for IT services sector in particular.”

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This story, "Hiring Budgets Begin to Thaw" was originally published by Network World.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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