The U.S. IT workforce has grown less than one percent since the start of the year, while the demand forecast by IT hiring managers for new workers has dropped sharply according to a newly released update to the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) annual workforce study, Bouncing Back.
The Arlington, Va.-based ITAA's quarterly update finds that the overall size of the IT workforce has grown by a net 85,437 positions since January, from 9,895,916 to 9,981,353. Employers added 782,466 IT workers and dismissed 697,029 IT workers during the period.
The update also found that hiring managers have adjusted their 12-month hiring outlook considerably since earlier in the year. In January, these individuals indicated their intent to fill 1.1 million IT positions over the subsequent 12 months but by July, the volume of demand had dropped by 27 percent, to 834,727.
At the same time, the study found that the rate of hirings to dismissals of IT workers improved substantially over the previous 12 months, moving to a net gain compared to full year 2001 in which dismissals exceeded hirings.
"Today's survey results are one more indication that where the overall economy may be recovering, the IT marketplace is still coping with recession," said ITAA President Harris N. Miller. "Hiring managers appear to be less bullish than at the start of the year -- even as many forecasters have predicted an IT industry turnaround in 2003. My concern is that a sluggish job market today could turn off many prospective information systems and computer science students, resulting in rampant IT talent shortages a few years down the road."
Included among the more notable findings of the ITAA quarterly update are:
"ITAA's findings indicate that IT hiring managers have adjusted their initial expectations for 2002 to the current economic situation. Most interesting are the findings that the rate of layoffs has declined and that even in a tech recession, companies, especially those outside the IT industry, still need skilled technology professionals," said Scot Melland, president and CEO of Dice.
The update, sponsored by Dice, complements ITAA's annual study, intended to present data that better reflect current market conditions. ITAA contracted with Market Decisions Corp. of Portland, Ore., to collect the workforce statistics. The survey is based on telephone interviews with 300 hiring managers, selected at random at IT and non-IT companies. Results have sampling variability of plus or minus 6 percent at the 90 percent confidence level.