Monday, January 26, 2009

IT Jobs Outlook for 2009

No matter where you are in this global economy, you have felt the force of what is shaping up to be one of the biggest waves of job loss in in recent years.

Jason Hiner, of
TechRepublic takes a look at a few of the trends currently affecting the IT job market and outlook for 2009.

Here's a brief summary of the good and the bad:

IT pro salaries went up in 2008

According to a recent survey conducted by Dice, the average salary for working in IT is now $78,035, a 4.6% increase over 2007 ($74,570).

“That average tech salaries are rising even as the economy falls reveals how much has changed since the dot-com days,” said Tom Silver, Chief Marketing Officer at Dice. “Today many technology professionals are seen as core assets where they work. As they enhance their skills, they’ll need to align those efforts with the market’s shifting demands. However, over the long-term, updating and broadening one’s skill set is the key to continued salary gains.”

IT pros are worried about 2009

“Dice reports a 67 percent increase in the number of new resumes posted to its site in the fourth quarter (year over year). Given that the majority of technology professionals who utilize Dice are currently employed, such ‘passive job hunting’ indicates greater anxiety about the job market.”

Companies with cash are still laying off workers

Tom Foremski of ZDNet found that even of the powerhouse tech companies, those with very strong balance sheets and enough cash to weather the downturn, are still resorting to layoffs. This could be an indicator of what's in store for the rest of 2009.

Of these companies, Foremski highlighted these:

  • Microsoft: $19.71 billion ($1.98 billion debt)
  • Apple: $24.49 billion (0 debt)
  • Intel: $11.84 billion ($1.99 billion debt)
  • Cisco Systems: $26.7 billion ($6.87 billion debt)
  • Adobe: $2.02 billion ($350 million debt)
  • Google: $14.41 billion (0 debt)
  • Yahoo: $3.2 billion ($63 million debt)

Who’s hiring?

Despite this unsettling trend, some companies continue to hire. Dice currently lists some 56,000+ tech job postings. Check out Webware's Rafe Needleman and his spreadsheet of sunshine of tech companies still hiring.

Here are just a few of the big names that made the list:

  • Intel (1000+)
  • Apple (189)
  • Siemens IT (100+)
  • Garmin (100+)
  • Facebook (100)
  • Research in Motion (50)
  • Yale University IT (45)
  • GoDaddy (45)

The bottom line

Jason Hiner is correct when he says that companies are looking ways to streamline, increase efficiencies and cut costs. IT is often the primary target for cost cutting. This is primarily due to the high cost of providing IT services and the low level of understanding of these costs by the rest of the organization.

Often the first cut is made to IT project budgets. Upgrades and other major technology investments are likely to be deferred. Second, what has not yet been outsourced, probably will be in short order.

Those IT organizations not able to demonstrate their value will be among the first to go. Those that have embraced best practice and have been able to gain the benefits of greater efficiencies and quality of service will have the greatest advantage in this uncertain economic climate.


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