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After Strong November, December Job Outlook Down

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November was a good month for the IT job market. Hiring was up, and

high-tech professionals were feeling more positive about their jobs and

their financial well-being.

December, however, may not be all about holiday cheer. Analysts say

they’re expecting hiring to slow as managers haggle over budgets and try

to figure out what projects they can afford to go ahead with in 2006.

”December tends to be an anxious time for the folks looking to be hired,

for the managers doing the hiring, and even for those who are employed

right now but who are wondering what will happen next year,” says Kevin

Knaul, executive vice president of the Hudson Highland Group, a

professional staffing and outsourcing company based in New York City.

”There’s a reluctancy for executing, hiring and coordinating all the

things that have to do with bringing on new staff at a time when people

are getting ready to take time off.”

While December may raise concerns, November dispelled some for many IT


Hudson Highland analysts report that renewed confidence in personal

finances and heightened job satisfaction both spurred on a strong month.

Forty-eight percent of the workers in the IT sector reported that their

financial situations were improving in November, up from 38 percent the

previous month, Hudson Highland reports. There was a 6-percentage-point

drop to 35 percent in the number reporting that their finances were

getting worse. And job satisfaction rose five points to 76 percent in


However, not all the numbers were rosy. The IT workforce was

significantly more likely to expect layoffs in November, as that figure

increased from 22 percent to 27 percent. The number of workers concerned

about job security rose five points to 32 percent.

Strong November

”We are seeing the strongest month of November that we’ve seen in the

last three years,” Knaul told Datamation. ”That shows a positive

direction for some of these companies and the budgets they’re working on.

If they know they have funding for projects going into 2006, then they

have to look and see if they have the staff to get those projects done.

If not, they have to hire on.”

David Foote, president and chief research officer of Foote Partners,

LLC., a New Canaan, Conn.-based industry research firm, says hiring was

so good in November that companies actually were stealing workers from

each other — something that hasn’t been happening in any big numbers

since the dot-com boom.

”What’s interesting is that there’s kind of a tech talent war going on

right now,” says Foote. ”Consulting firms are stealing employees from

their clients. Clients are stealing from their service providers.

”What do you want? You want people with technical chops and technical

experience and vertical industry experience,” adds Foote. ”If you’re a

hospital and you’re doing something with patient record systems, before

you would have gone out and hired the best Oracle DBAs you could and

you’d teach them about the industry. Now, they say they want the tech

experience but they also want the industry experience so they don’t have

to deal with a big learning curve.”

Foote says the skills that have been in high demand include, application

development, business intelligence, database developers, wireless

engineers and administrators and business architects.

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