Demand for IT Workers Remains High

With all the recent turmoil in the hi-tech sector, some IT professionals have begun to worry about job security. A new report released today by The Information Technology Association of America shows that skilled workers have little to worry about, with the demand for IT workers, both in the IT sector and beyond, remaining in excess of supply.

The study, When Can You Start? Building Information Technology Skills and Careers, found a still-strong U.S. information technology workforce of 10.4 million individuals and a projected demand for new workers in 2001 of approximately 900,000.

While this number is down from a demand for 1.6 million new workers in 2000, the report notes that hiring managers still predict a shortfall of 425,000 skilled workers this year. This number is also down from the 850,000-person shortfall last year.

“The downswing in the U.S. economy has undoubtedly affected the demand for IT workers this year,” said ITAA President Harris N. Miller. “Skilled technology workers – still a highly desirable commodity to IT and non-IT companies – are facing more cautious hiring practices than the ‘irrational exuberance’ that some say described 2000.”

The ITAA study, which was administered by Market Decisions Corporation of Portland, Oregon, finds that compared with IT companies, non-IT companies remain the larger employer of IT workers. Non-IT companies employ 9.5 million IT workers, nearly ten times their IT counterparts, and also generate the greater demand at over 640,000 positions needing to be filled.

“Our 2001 numbers suggest that hiring has by no means halted for IT workers, rather, demand still far exceeds supply in this market,” said Miller

According to Jason Hancock, Managing Partner at executive search firm Heidrick and struggles, these strong numbers also hold true for executive demand.

“The bar has really been raised by the companies that are hiring… and they still have a need to hire quality people,” said Hancock. “Across the board, from an executive standpoint, the companies that are well funded with good products are still out there looking for quality execs.”

While non-IT companies have a significantly higher demand, the report notes that hiring needs of IT companies on a per-company basis are significantly larger than Non-IT companies. The typical IT company will attempt to fill almost 19 slots in the next 12 months compared to just over two for Non-IT companies.

“Those well established companies always have to stay ahead of the game,” said Hancock. “(They) always need to be hiring people across the board to make sure they are at the leading edge of technology, and that they can either deliver their product using technology or support their product using technology, whether they are a technology company or not.”

Study results are based on a random sample of 685 IT managers, both inside and outside the IT industry, surveyed by telephone. Results have a sampling variability of +/- 3.1 percent at the 90 percent confidence level.

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