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Is the Worst Over for IT Hiring?

Are you a dot-com casualty? IT refugee? Newly minted MCSE entering the job market? If so, your employment outlook may not be quite as bleak as it was just a few months ago.

The first piece of good news comes from the Conference Board's Help-Wanted Index. The index is a survey of the help-wanted sections of 51 major newspapers across the country. Although there was a sharp drop in employers looking to hire from last April to May, the drop from May to June was much less severe. Also, the proportion of labor markets with rising want-ad volume from May to June rose from 18 percent to 35 percent.

Ken Goldstein, a Conference Board economist, stated in a press release that the numbers are looking up.

"After a sharp drop in May, demand for labor showed only a small decline in June. Latest readings from the Help-Wanted Index point to only modest job growth ahead. That should boost consumer confidence, with many consumers assuming the worst is over."

An IT jobs Web site has seen similar trends recently. JustTechJobs.com has seen the number of job-hunters on its site decline, with a similar growth in employers looking for workers.

JustTechJobs CEO Russ Curtis said that he's seen a 25 percent drop in people looking for jobs in June and July.

"We used to get approximately 1,000 new job-seekers per day; now we're getting about 750 per day," Curtis said in mid-August. At the same time, the number of employers looking for help has spiked 21.8 percent, and the number of available jobs has gone up 15 percent.

The news wasn't as encouraging from another large technology-jobs site. At Dice.com, the number of job-seekers has leveled off in recent months, "but I would hesitate to say we're on the upswing," said Tom Silver, vice-president of marketing.

He added that, as for employers, "In the best case (the number of openings) is holding steady; but in some cases, we're seeing some slowdown" in the number of job postings.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization Review.

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