Peter Sayer
Senior Editor

US IT jobs growth slowed in February

Mar 08, 2022
IT Jobs

There’s still a need for more IT workers, but employers don’t want to pay for them, say analysts.

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Credit: Getty Images

Hiring for US IT roles slowed dramatically in February 2022, according to CompTIA, even as US Bureau of Labor Statistics figures showed non-farm employment growing across the rest of the economy.

The US non-farm workforce grew by 678,000 in February 2022, compared to an increase of 481,000 in January, according to seasonally adjusted BLS figures.

But the share of those joining technology companies fell dramatically in February 2022 to 5,300, down from around 15,300 in January, according to an analysis of the figures by CompTIA.

It’s not because companies don’t want IT workers, though: It’s that they don’t want to meet their pay demands.

The number of job postings for technology occupations increased more than 50,000 to 388,000 in February, CompTIA said.

Among the roles for which employers are struggling to find skilled staff, CompTIA highlighted software developers, software engineers, IT support specialists, IT project managers, network engineers and architects, and systems engineers and architects.

Higher pay needed

Looking back at the past year of BLS figures, management consulting firm Janco Associates noted that new IT job creation slowed from 105,000 in 2018 to 90,000 in 2019, reversing in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, with the loss of 33,000 jobs. The market made up for lost time in 2021 with the creation of 213,000 new IT jobs, a record pace that continued through January 2022.

Now, though, many organizations have put the brakes on new hiring, according to Janco, in part due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and attendant economic sanctions and disruption to international commerce.

Salary inflation is also a significant factor. Janco estimates that salaries for new hires need to rise by 8% to 11% to meet IT workers’ expectations.

This, however, is also likely to lead to dissatisfaction among existing employees, as salaries for new hires are likely to outpace those of existing employees, the company warned. The disparity was already evident in the last quarter of 2021, when new hires were often paid 5-6% more than existing staff.

Where the jobs are

The hottest job markets for IT workers are Boise (with a 71% increase in job postings between January and February), St Louis (with postings up 53%), Colorado Springs (45%), and Kansas City (42%). The largest numbers of IT job postings were to be found in New York (20,342); Washington, DC (19,081); Dallas (18,677); Los Angeles (17,879); and San Francisco (14,809), according to CompTIA.

The biggest demand for IT workers is in professional, scientific, and technical services (with 60,263 job openings); finance and insurance (54,736); and manufacturing (42,198), CompTIA said in the March edition of its Tech Jobs Report.

Healthcare companies in particular are hungry for IT workers. Humana made 8,488 tech job postings in February; Anthem Blue Cross, 3,856; and Highmark Health, 3,772, according to CompTIA’s analysis of data from EMSI Burning Glass Technologies Labor Insights.

The BLS figures for February showed that of the sectors actually hiring IT workers, IT services and custom software development was the hottest, with a net gain of 4,500 jobs, followed by computer and electronic products manufacturing (+3,100). But employment fell by 1,500 in telecommunications, and by 1,000 in data processing, hosting, and related services.

Still working from home

Although some of the tech industry’s biggest employers are starting to make noises about a return to the office, working from home is still a thing. CompTIA identified 111,408 IT job postings for remote or home workers in February, up 16,854 on January. Remote working is most often offered as a benefit for roles in software development (44,581 postings), IT support (10,828), web development (10,467), systems engineering (9,448) or IT project management (7,843), CompTIA reported.