U.S. companies laid off more than 500,000 IT workers in the past year, according to a new report released by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA). The size of the high-tech workforce dropped from 10.4 million to 9.9 million, with tech workers at IT companies much more likely to receive a pink slip than their counterparts working in non-IT companies.
On the brighter side, the study found that demand for IT workers in the coming months should greatly increase over 2001 and 2002's dismal numbers. Hiring mangers, according to Bouncing Back: Jobs, Skills and the Continuing Demand for IT Workers, told ITAA that they will be looking to fill 1.1 million jobs in 2003.
''This is obviously a good news/bad news report for IT workers,'' says ITAA president Harris N. Miller. ''Revenue growth in the IT industry stalled in the past year, and now we know that employment has actually lost ground. We think the situation will be short-lived, with employers forced to fill positions they were forced to cut in the recession. The latest data from the federal government and other sources indicates that the economy has turned a corner and our report shows the level of demand for skilled IT workers is on the rise too.''
Other findings in ITAA's report include the fact that when their customers sneeze, IT companies get the flu. IT firms reduced their workers by 15% compared to only 4% for non-IT workers.
And it appears there's nowhere to run. The IT workforce lost 5% of its employment, with cuts being felt equally in all regions of the U.S.
And the report also states that programmers rule. Companies employ more programmers than any other type of IT worker. Technical support workers, those oft maligned folk, are the most likely to be hired and let go last.