Inside Today's Falling IT Salary Levels: Page 2


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At the Dice site, which several months back offered some 90,000 IT job openings, the list has dwindled to about 47,000. “We’re down 45 percent or so in terms of job count versus a year ago. It’s a pretty tough market out there,” Silver said. He cited a U.S. Bureau of Labor statistic that indicated a surprisingly high tech sector unemployment rate of over 5 percent (versus over 9 percent for the general labor market).

Glimmers of Hope

“There are still areas of tech that are hanging in there pretty well,” Silver said.

“If you have familiarization with anything having to do with making [employers’] systems more secure, then you are in demand.” Also hot is “virtualization, a new area that helps employers make infrastructure run that much more efficiently and save money in the near term. And by all means, if you’re a good programmer…you’re still in pretty good standing.”

Foote Partners, an IT workforce research consultancy, also identified job titles that are holding up in the downturn: IT architecture, business process, security, communication, e-commerce, and several ERP and infrastructure specializations.

In its June 2009report, Foote CEO David Foote wrote, “Once again, job security depends more on the particular combinations of skills brought to the job, both hard and ‘soft’, not necessarily the job or job title.

“Decisions on thinning the workforce don’t begin with job titles or functions, but instead identifying those workers whose skills are either not strategic or do not match up well with the work that needs to get done. So, for example, some applications developers or storage administrators are more important than others even though their job titles may be identical.

“Clearly, the survivors are the shrewd IT professionals who have always been the most aggressive and alert in directing their career development, managing to always be out front of the demand for skills. They may not even be the hardest workers, but they are certainly the most effective. And in a sense the most loyal to their employers if not also their profession.”

Uncertain Outlook

While there may be strategies to retain one’s current post, that doesn’t change the fact that the gloomy drumbeat shows no signs of abating.

“The market is definitely slowing, there’s no doubt about it,” noted Silver.

“People want to feel better, and many people do feel a little bit better, [but] at least for the near term, hiring behaviors from employers are really not changing very much.

“For the most part, I don’t think that’s going to change for a while. Your guess is as good as mine as far as when it happens. I think employers are still playing things fairly close.”

ALSO SEE: IT Salary Levels, 2004-2009

AND: TExpert: IT Hiring has 'Stabilized'

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