Is the Worst Over for the IT Job Market?

You may be excused for your cynical chortling when hearing that IT hiring may be on the way up, but that's what the latest study from a technology staffing company reports.

You may be excused for your cynical chortling when hearing that IT hiring may be on the way up, but that’s what the latest study from a technology staffing company reports.

The international company Robert Half Technology just released the results of a survey that found that 10 percent of the 1,400 CIOs questioned anticipate increasing their IT staffs in the third quarter of this year, while only 3 percent project layoffs.

The news was even better for MCPs. Windows administration was the most in-demand skill among the CIOs by a huge margin. Eighty percent listed Windows expertise as the skill they most value, followed by Cisco administration at 38 percent, Visual Basic development at 29 percent, and Check Point firewall administration at 28 percent.

The obvious question: Can those statistics be accurate, given the wide-ranging perception that the IT job market remains woeful? Yes, said Robert Half Regional Manager Catherine Paredi. “The layoffs are well-publicized, and yes, they are going on. But... hiring is going on on a strategic basis, in order for companies to maintain their systems and market share and to sustain themselves.”

Paredi believes that signals are there to indicate a possible turnaround, but they haven’t been as well publicized. The evidence is there, she said, in “the hiring indexes, and even more importantly, the figures from the analysts and anecdotal evidence from our clients across the country.”

Turning to the impact of certification on a job-seeker’s hunt, Paredi said experience remains the key, but certification can play a role. “Actual work experience, at this point in time, is taking precedence over whether or not someone is certified. If it comes down to a short list of two people, and their qualifications are similar, perhaps a company might lean toward the certified individual.”

Could the numbers show simply a momentary boost? Not likely, said Paredi. “I’m not seeing it as a fluke at all. Across the country, we are starting to see a trend—I’m not saying a jump—toward growth. What I’m seeing [from companies] is definite need, definite buying signals.”

The survey report can be found at

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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Reader Comments:

Wed, Aug 25, 2004 Sherry Washington

The IT job market still isn't doing well. Those up for re-election talk about new job and such. Yet, they have incentives for those companies who outsource overseas. Even government is doing it. The agency I work for starts in 2005, and yea, I'm worried about wether or not I'll have a job.

Fri, Aug 8, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I am glad. Bush a good guy. Tax cut will help.It was smart . Good for him

Fri, Aug 8, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Greenspan said till end of the year nothing gonna be change.XA XA XA

Fri, Aug 8, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

good news. Thank you bush.It looks like tax cut started to work

Wed, Jul 23, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I know someone with almost a decade of IT experience that has had to take a contract for $13hr and is just so happy just to have some income because he had been out of work so long, his car was getting ready to be reposessed.

Wed, Jul 23, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

My family sacrificed so much so that I could get my college degree BS INSY. I also have MCSE Y2K, Aplus, and Nplus, and a few months of experience. There are NO JOBS. And at least 2 different contract firms have asked me to take receptionist or admin work, do they ask the GUYS to do that?! and the pay is so low, as a single mother with daycare expense, how do they expect you to survive?! Employers just don't care whether you can put food on the table for $11hr. They just figure people are deperate enough, they'll take it.

Wed, Jul 23, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

As a new college graduate, I and my other (Information Systems major) friends have found no jobs upon graduation and the future looks bleak. I was lucky to find one short contract position for a few weeks, but even the contractors say all the clients want experienced people. No one wants a new college hire anymore. But how do you get experience if no one will give you a chance to get it?

Wed, Jul 23, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

TO all you HR types, I dont care how bad the IT market is, or how many resumes you get per job opening. You are never justified in being rude, unprofessional or just down right nasty to any job seeker. Remeber what goes around comes around, one day it will be you on the other side of that phone, and you will be treated the same way you are treating us now.

Thu, Jul 17, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I'm leaving the IT market forever, I'm tried of being betrayed by corporate america. I've been sold out one to many times...

Mon, Jul 14, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

What are you smoking? I keep my skill set current, I worked my ass of six days a week, 10 hours a day. I had the workload of 2.5 people and I still made all of my deadlines each and every time.
I still got laid off, what good did it do me to work that hard? mgmt is only loyal to their own greed!

Mon, Jul 14, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

In my experience, if you keep your technical skill set current, serve your customers, and work your ass off you can stay employed and still earn a premium.

Mon, Jul 14, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

In my experience, if you keep your technical skill set current, serve your customers, and work your ass off you can stay employed and still earn a premium.

Sat, Jul 12, 2003 MCSE Woodland Hills

Please, I keep reading stories like these that it's 'getting better', but in reality, I see it as getting worse. I will believe it when I see it or hear it from surrounding people. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE !

Fri, Jul 11, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Employers Rights

We the Employers of America, Inc
reserve (aka take) the following rights

1. We demand absolute loyality from you the employee (aka sheep or cattle). however we have NO loyality towards you.
2. We can and will reduce human resource costs (aka can you ass and get away with it) if we the management can save a buck.
3. If your job can be performed at a lower cost (outsourcing) we will get anyone but an american to take you job from you.
4. You the employee have no rights and must give your soul, life, and anything else we want upon request.
5. If you the employee complain about ANYTHING, you will be outsourced.
6. We the management expect you to work 12 hours a day, 6 days a week and sundays as requested (ie every sunday) for the same pay that you would get for 8 hours a day and five days a week.
7. we the management have enough money and power to get away with breaking any law(s) by buying off elected officals, terminating your job, and then blacklisting you from geting any other job (ie: lucent management)

Thu, Jul 10, 2003 Arrrgh MO

whats the problem here? I have an MCSE, CCNA, A Plus, Network Plus, and Server Plus (dont ask why I got that one) cert and cant find diddlysquat!! My girlfriend is an expert in Word and Excel and she has no problem finding Admin jobs paying between 10-13 dollars and hour; not great money but atleast she's finding employment. Im getting very discouraged. My bestfriend just went to a construction school that traines you in 3 months to become a HVAC (heating, ventilation and airconditioning) technician and now he's working for a company starting at 17 dollars an hour.

Thu, Jul 10, 2003 James GA

Sign of Times Amen your comments about schools and programs pushing out MSCEs. I mean how many do we need right now? People are running out to the lake finally with their fishing liscense and finding out there aren't any fish. I mean look at all the BootCamps, techschools, online courses, and now Major Universities riding the Wave. Its all about money...Im seriously debating going back to Truck Driving. Atleast Truck Driving schools realize there is still a need for drivers. I was making $43,000 a year before I got tired of it and left to pursue the I.T Fantasy Land.

Thu, Jul 10, 2003 SignOfTimes midwest

this is crazy, all of it...Robert Half, hehe, not a single reply back after 10 responses. What kills me just as much is schools out there still pushing MSCE on potential students. My girlfriend was wanting to go back to a 2 year college and they tried to push the MSCE program on her for $21,000 (plus associates in Networking) I was appalled!! and had to convince her that this is not the time, LOL maybe Nursing or Paralegal but not I.T These admissions they do any research at all? And you can make this much money after graduation...yeah okay my friend just spent $31,000 at ITT and now does help desk at a call center for 11 bucks and hour...same job I had a few months back except I had no certification, experience or degree, I just walked in and told them I did all my computing at home and knew Windows. So to all these business and tech schools saturating the market & telling people about the demand for A Plus, MCSE and whatever else get REAL! You want them to succeed teach them JAVA, ORACLE and UNIX System and Network Administration...atleast they'll have a better chance to survive for now.

Wed, Jul 9, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I recently read a news story about students in india comming suicide after not attaining a specific grade or grades.
As far as I'm concerned, this is a good thing for the US. one less job is taken away from an american everytime they suceed!

Mon, Jul 7, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Financial planning anyone ? Over spend did we ? Get over it and move on. Your life is temporary just as the IT glory days are.

See ya !

Mon, Jul 7, 2003 idiots Anonymous

TO quote :With all this bitching about India etc, it's no wonder that the great USA is isolating itself in today's world.........

Listen A@@hole, This is America. It was bad enough when companys went hib visas and cut jobs, now they just ship them offshore. I dont care what your race is, they could be shipping them to canada. People would still be pissed so F$ck you, F@ck India, F$ck Microsoft, F$ck this mcp BS and F$ck Robet half.

Amazing that we should all be out of work over this.

Mon, Jul 7, 2003 princess CT

Ok .. so i just found this article and read all the comments. What CRAP! If the IT market is on the upswing than what the heck is my husband doing at home with our son? He got laid off two days before the birth of our son. Guess who's daycare? that would be daddy because its financially better for us for him to collect unemployment and stay home to take care of our son than to take an obscene pay cut to go back to work and put our son in daycare. He's a network guy with 9yrs exp and more certs than he can list on his resume and every job in the CT area wants duel talents .. network exp and dev exp.. what's up with that? i'm a developer and haven't a clue about building a server .. and i shouldn't have to .. hubby can build a server with the best of them and could care less what apps run on it much less how to write the app! hiring mgrs and HR people need to get realistic about what they're looking for in a prospective employee! Its like asking the mechanic to design the car and all its options and then fix everything! Not going to happen! and don't even get me started on offshore .. my company just laid off a ton of people and will be "outsourcing" some of our app "maintenance" to india so we can focus on innovative projects and not be bothered with everyday mundane tasks .. yeah thanks .. i'm sure the people sitting at home right now appreciate your thoughtfulness. Why don't we as an IT community just turn everything off?? Without us, companies would be reduced to functioning the old fashioned way .. no more instant gratification!

Sun, Jul 6, 2003 bb So. Cal.

Well, I read the article and all the comments that others have made and I think everyone needs to remember that this article is a FORECAST. As such it might be right, but even if it is the relief wouldn't come for about 3 months. Also, when it does come it won't be enough. Here's why: The projected net increase in hiring is only 7 percent. Not much when you consider that about 15 percent of the qualified job market is currently unemployed. If it does happen then we could get to the point where our industry is only as bad as the rest of the job market. Meanwhile unemployment offices around the country still haven't got the word. I was just layed off from a job for an outsourcing company that I got after an 11 month layoff. Worked for 6 months and am now back to the unemployment office an what's plastered all over the boards? Get trained in IT so you can get a good job! Please! The market is overcrowded with highly skilled people with multiple certifications and many years of experience, like ;me. I have already adjusted my expectations on salary and still when I apply for a job I get aced out by people with more certs, masters degrees, etc. So what is the answer? I don't know but for some of us who have a passion and aptitude for IT, dropping out of the workforce, selling our homes and going back to school to take an entry level job in another field just doesn't seem to be a good Idea.

Thu, Jul 3, 2003 undercurrent still in san jose

relax folks, theres going to be a huge backlash from sending all code to the calcutta chop shop.

then again, you can learn hindi and become a middleman taking 60% of the cut.

Thu, Jul 3, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I see that the author, Keith Ward, is a MCSE. I'm curious what his response would be if he replied to x number of Administrator or Engineer jobs. Hey Keith, will you apply for 25 to 50 jobs on Monster (and not to your IT "friends") and let us know what your response is? Print that kind of data, Keith, and I'll read your article with interest.

Thu, Jul 3, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

With all this bitching about India etc, it's no wonder that the great USA is isolating itself in today's world.........

Thu, Jul 3, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I don't know what is more annoying: Robert Half for putting this kind of info out, or MCP Mag for publishing this hackneyed propaganda as "news". Why don't the eds at MCP mag get off their duffs and do some real research on this sort of thing, instead of lazily publishing something they received in an email. I dare MCP mag to post this!!!

Thu, Jul 3, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

What's up with the forum administrators censoring these message board entries? Either let people anonymously vent, or change this to a members only posting area, but why remove people's posts? I'm a recent college grad with my third college degree, and am certified out the wazoo and have a little experience, but am going to get out of this crazy flooded field to try and get into management sometime hopefully soon down the road. IT in the US is basically toast, and all of the 60-day $9.00 an hour contract work working for arrogant anal retentive jerkoffs isn't worth it... I'd rather work with fellow younger people in a less stressful environment for better wages than jump into this rat race and am going to cut my future losses (which would be more debt to pay for more certs, etc.) and run! Word to the wise.....

Wed, Jul 2, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I say we all abandon the IT world and let the masses fend for themselves. Then how valuable will we be....Remember its not always obvious that you have it good until its gone. I am confident that this was not my calling just a stop along the way. Although I am certified and quite competent and once extremely dedicated to my agency I have realized that many better options outside this field exist.

Wed, Jul 2, 2003 Michael Domingo Irvine, CA

I've pulled many comments that were redundant or off-topic; I believe the comments that remain are relevant to this article and representative of the spectrum of comments this story has received thus far. If you believe your comment was relevant and non-repetitive and think I should put your comment back online, email me at with a valid argument for doing so. Michael Domingo, Editor,

Wed, Jul 2, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I am more worried about my stick options and 401k plan with all of the big business scandals going on than I am about outsourcing. If you are compotent you will always have or be able to get another job

Tue, Jul 1, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

To wolf359 and all those who are against outsourcing - first ask your companies to do business in those counrty and take profit from there to here so you guys can become more lazy.

Tue, Jul 1, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Monster is not doing bad in my opinion. I did a windows 2000 search and came back with 2801 hits, thats actually about as good as ever

Tue, Jul 1, 2003 MCT Anonymous

The worst may not be over, but things are better now than they were for about the past 18 months. I own a CTEC and our corporate enrollment is up about 30% for June and July so far. It has been a while since we had an upswing, also many of the IT Managers I know are hiring stoppages and looking for new talent

Mon, Jun 30, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

It's articles like this that make me take lots of "info" from mcpmag with a grain of salt. Perhaps the author should learn some lessons from the New York Times.

Mon, Jun 30, 2003 Dave H San Diego

Oh, by the way, our CIO just did some interviewing (and i asked the technical questions, so I have first-hand knowledge of what happened). We had an MCSD who was willing to take 50K IN SAN DIEGO. And he lost the job to a non-certified KID who was willing to take a few thousand bucks less than that!

Mon, Jun 30, 2003 Dave H. San Diego

The Worst is NOT over. Look at Dice and Monster. The industry is crushed. While I believe that positive thinking can help a person on a 'personal level', I think that the Robert Half info is a farce and a dis-service. Maybe if you're willing to take a 50% pay-cut you can find a job quickly.

Mon, Jun 30, 2003 JJS Richmond, VA

I agree, Robert Half is using this as a PR opportunity. They would be foolish to say anything negative. There are no reliable independent sources in this alleged "article". I believe it should be called an ADVERTISEMENT. IT spending is down and staying down. Outsourcing to foreign sources is increasing. The domestic IT job market is in bad shape. They cannot say this though as that effects their bread and butter: dollars for certification testing.

Sun, Jun 29, 2003 MF Singapore

I agree with everyone on the oursourcing and moving to cheaper countries, cheaper workforce. I just joined this company which layed off its entire sys admin dept in london and moved it to singapore. 6 guys got the axe 2 got other positions within the company and 2 got "lucky" and offered the chance to come to Singapore. They are thinking of moving the entire admin team over to singapore that include unix, DBAs etc. Lots more layoffs to come for the guys in london. lower cost in singapore. Not sure why they didnt choose India(maybe coz of the strong Indian accent-singaporeans accent arnt too bad as most of us speak english like it was our native language.)

anyway singapore companies are moving to India-HP singapore just about to layoff and move some of its operations to Inida-accts and F&A.

guess how many applicants there were for the 6 positions on offer- 1500!

Pray hard- I got only God to thank for getting this position( and I dont mind the 14 hour follow the clock support-we hand over to NY at 9pm and takeover 7 am.)

Sat, Jun 28, 2003 N. Denver,CO

This is a made up story.
I have Aplus, MCP, MCSA, MCSE (W2K)and just got CCNA. I tried to apply at Robert Half as a NT or W2K Administrator so many times and never got a response.

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 MJ TX

To "Idiots says" you wrote, And MJ, the mechanic guy... Maybe If Mechanics werent known to rip people off they would be trusted. Ask anyone, If they had a mechanic they actually trusted Im sure they would pay a higher rate for the work, I would. Unfortunaltly most auto places make their living off ripping people off. Its common knowledge.

Well maybe if the CEOs paid you on commision and any time you spent beyond what you told them it would take you did for free, I'd like to see what you would do. Ya, better than 90% of the technicians are crooks, we steal time from our families, from ourselfs, from the things we enjoy and turn around and give it to the most un-appreciative people on earth. For an industry that is totally unreulated in most states we do pretty good. When you are working on a project and run up against the unknown you still get paid no matter what kind of time it takes. When we run up on a problem the first thing out of your mouths is "so, you already gave me a price". You try to do that job, in 100 degree heat and in 30 degree cold. You would then relize what it takes. I know what it takes in the IT, been there done that and still do. (Aplus, Nplus, MSCA). I have to do both jobs, not only does the public rip me off to the hilt, there certainly not enough to pay someone to do my IT work as well. Try busting your ass for amonth and have to cough up money from thin air to survive another month and then stay up late hours dooing IT for free then talk about being a crook.

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 steve Texas

I would put about as much trust in Robert Half or any other headhunter, as I would that Enron stock is going up. There maybe a few jobs out there but at 50 to 75% of the 1995 salaries, which means you make more at McDonalds. The market is not bad its dead unless you live in India or are a newbie. But it happens in all industries. The only difference is the CIO's are trusting the most valuable info they have to incompetents. But you get what you pay for.

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Bob Las Vegas

I am an MCSD with over 10 years experience with Microsoft products and another 10 years with VAX VMS. I moved out of Chicago after losing my $125K per year position to Las Vegas. I can make more playing poker with tourists than I can working 10 plus hours a day in some I T sweatshop...

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Smilinjack East Coast

Great news for the unemployment commision...let's flood the IT industry with more people that we can cram through 2 months or less worth of training. Making the certifications worth even less than they already apparently are.

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

NY: Hiring is bad ppl..No co's are hiring, NY was supposed to be the great IT centre..Ahem! NOT ANYMORE..Everyday Layoffs, 50 laid for 5 hired..

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 pissed off ct

yea, hiring is up and I'm going to India to work for 5800$ a year......

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 anonymous New York

Sure its made up story. I have applied to many posting of Robert Half. I am in IT for 5 yrs experience, and haven't received single call from Robert Half.. Where do they come up with this data?? Can they back it and show some proof?? I like to see that..

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I'm facing my second layoff in about a year in the Chicago area. The buzz is that offshore progamming is only going to get hotter and billable rates will keep dropping. And the vast majority of postings are for EXPERIENCED .net programmers. VB6-ers need not apply.

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

It's not mo' money for the worker ants holding up the "man", it's less money! How much does it cost to relocate to Bejing?

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I agree with this article, I am pleased to see many of my friends getting back to work as they finally secure IT jobs. Are they as glorious as they used to be? No, but they are good jobs none the less.

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I've got a better idea, OUTLAW outsourcing and remember that AMERICAN jobs are for AMERICANS.
AMERICA should not be for sale to the lowest bidder!!

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Come on guys. When are we going to learn that you can't place the blame elsewhere? I have been in IT for nearly 10 years. We screwed ourselves. We gouged companies demanding salaries and now the tides have turned and we are complaining like little babies blaming everything on the government, outsourcing, etc... We did it to ourselves. Now companies have looked elsewhere. To get it back, we have to play the same game and offer them a product that makes us more marketable (like quality of work over price). As for the turn in the market. Yes, it does seem that there are more jobs out there than there was 6 months ago. Yes, IT still has far more jobs than any other field. The problem is that there are also more people trying to enter into our field. We are becoming like the lawyers of the 80's and 90's. There are more people trying to enter this field than there are people currently employed in the field each year. So, while the number of IT jobs increase, so do the number of potential candidates. Thus, making it seem as though the market is actually declining. I was hit with the lay-offs of late last year but I was able to turn around and find another job. I didn't rely on internet job postings. I got myself in gear and networked with people and found a job. Just because the job postings aren't there doesn't mean that new jobs aren't coming up. When I was looking for a job, I talked to a recruiter who told me that for every job posting they put on the internet, they received over 150 applicants in the first 4 to 8 hours. So companies have quit posting jobs and using other resources to find applicants. With that kind of numbers its not hard to find an employee. You've got to realize that the environment in IT now is different than it was 4 years ago. We have to change with the environment.

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 moondog fumalock FL

in response to PJ's posting -- sounds like you've got the answer for absolutly verybody in IT. GET REAL DUDE! your "solution" might cover a very small percentage of IT people. And for that miniscule group of represented IT workers your idea is a good one and I do believe yiour right. but we are talking about hundreds of thousands more people that don't fit into your plan at all. What about all those other workers? what kind of plan do you have for them?
there is no One answer across the board. Maybe we got to inflated in the past and it will probably take awhile before we see new growth in IT that will supportmore workers. but think about this- i have networks that i have designed and built that run them selves. very little interaction is needed over time. there is an admin person that i ussally appoint to do back ups and routine small things. so i basicly am out of work on that job until they decide to do an upgrade. now what?

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Idiots Anonymous

You know the only thing positive about this artilcle and responses is it at least shows that BS companys like this are not fooling anyone anymore.

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 From OKLA East Boarder

I think the No Export from Huston posting" states the real problem. Our government must stop US based companys from moving their business international and to Mexico. I would like to see numbers pointing to economic down turn due to US business leaving for cheaper labor in Mexico. I current employer is in its beginning phase of moving 20 to 30 production to mexico, which mean 20 to 30 of jobs will be cut in the next year?

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 PJ United States

I was once a developer (12 years, dotcommer, medical claims, etc...), but now I'm a senior IT project manager for a Fortune 500 company. I make good money and, believe it or not (and I know some will chuckle, but it's true) I have a LOT of job security, and here's why (please read):

We no longer hire large groups of programmers to tackle projects, instead, we look for COTS solutions or ERP solutions (why reinvent the wheel?). In this new economy, we only need two things: 1.) 'integration' with legacy systems and 2.) 'customization' for non-standard business processes.

Integration expertise is much cheaper off shore (hands down). So unless your the guy that built or installed the original system at your company, give up on this line of work.

The money is in the 'customization' work; however, this requires that you become a 'subject matter expert' (SME) in the business that needs the automation. Sort of like a 'super business analyst' that can also program (that's me). For example, if you are a CPA and a skilled programmer, then you've got a job. If you're just a programmer and don't understand the intimate details of the business (any business?), then you're probably out of a job.

Perhaps the best route is to leave IT, reapply your skills in a different line of work, then use your IT knowledge to invent a new killer app for that business? Become the SME, and the work will follow.

Good luck guys!

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I don't believe anything RHT says about anything, how did they become experts in employment anlysis? Have you seen such false advertising, on all the major websites. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, and more jobs, but everytime I try to get one through RHT it disappears? Why is that, because there was never a job in the first place. The problem is in the current administration, or Gov. for short, they have jumpstarted the economy how many times? And how many wars has the honest hard working person paid for? It is time for a change at the top and then we will work our way down to the RHT's.

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 CP Atlanta

The overwhelming negative response to this article is
quite telling ... Bucky, I think you hit the nail on the head, the whole article reeks of PR hype from a consulting firm whose interest is to sell a product and keep a steady pool of cheap labor available. Others
make the excellent point that the hiring, if any, is most likely going to happen offshore. What I found most comical about the so called "survey" were the inflated numbers for VB ... I rerely see VB listed as a skill requirement anymore in job postings, more prevalent are Java, C, or even Csharp. 80 percent for Windows also seems suspect; I know that MS still rules the desktop but there are entire other worlds out there, like the server market where linux is making big inroads. Another thing I notice in these surveys, not just for IT but for the economy in general, is that the recovery is always 1-2 quarters away ... last year
we got the hype of a 2nd half recovery that never materialized; this year looks to be no different.

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Michele Arlington, Texas

From Above: "I feel bad for all the career changers who are still feeding on the propaganda of a big money career in IT." I agree - I was a victim of downsizing in December of 2002. When I went to the unemployment office to look for work, they encouraged me to get training in IT - "It's a hot market for jobs." !!!???

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Anonymous Boston

Working as a technical trainer for a large computer training and consulting company in Boston, I'll tell you what I see. Large corporations like HP, Terayne, and others continuing to lay off IT staff, Law Firms cutting back to skeleton IT Departments, and IT professionals with amazing resumes begging for help desk jobs. I think the author neds to look to sources without agendas and tell people what's really happening out here. I feel bad for all the career changers who are still feeding on the propaganda of a big money career in IT.
One positive note is the Biotech field. They seem to constantly be hiring new IT staff. Watch out Biotech' they come!

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Robert who?

Fri, Jun 27, 2003 Anonymous London

Its a global world chaps!!
Aren't those certified in India just as capable as those certified anywhere else?
Get used to it - the dot com bubble has now burst!!

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Idiots Anonymous

Robert Half? Yeah I'll listen to them. Apply to any job they post and see If you even get a reply. They are BS. They get by BS'ing their techs and never having work.

And MJ, the mechanic guy... Maybe If Mechanics werent known to rip people off they would be trusted. Ask anyone, If they had a mechanic they actually trusted Im sure they would pay a higher rate for the work, I would. Unfortunaltly most auto places make their living off ripping people off. Its common knowledge.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 WBA Chicago, IL

Outsourcing is just Corporate America's way of doing business, just as it's been for the past 200 years. Can anyone find a skilled labor job (Accept it, that's what we are.) that has not suffered the same fate? Manufacturing? Textiles? Clothing? Electronics? Steel? Each time it happens the news talks about how bad it is and how there oughta be a law to stop this kind of thing. The discussion heats up and just when it looks like some real changes are going to be made, the weapon of mass distraction is launched and no one remembers what they were so fired up about. Then the people that lost their jobs are reduced to being overpaid, under-worked whiners that shouldn't have been paid the salaries the corporations offered them. I can only hope that with all this renewed patriotism and concern for homeland security, we don't lose this one too.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Johnny Sphintcer Des Moines, Iowa

Isn't the simple answer to all of you to move to India and find work? You could survive for a year on a months wages in the US - and the food is sensational! Give it a go - you'll never look back from curry and papadums once they are a staple part of your diet. And butter chicken - oohhh baby.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Bucky Dallas, TC

I an very skeptical about an article about a report like this that comes from a temp agency like Robert Half. There's no good business reason for them to publish such a report, alerting their competition to a potential recovery, unless its just dizinformatzia.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Toronto

You know I feel for those of you that are unemployed, but not that much...

Skills are only part of the criteria that a company use in determing whether to hire someone or not. It is also personality. I can tell you that if an IT manager finds themselves in front of Michael Douglas from "Falling Down", it doesn't matter if the guy was a coding god or not. If he hires the person, complaints will arise from the rest of the staff, "he's weird", "scary", "psycho", "where did he get those glasses".

Read your own response, imagine if you were a manager with staff with so much pent up anger and frustration. Sorry, but I wouldn't hire you.

As for the H1b, it's cyclic man. India gets the job because companies are trying to increase profitability. Therefore go to the lowest bidder, and save expenses and thus increase your profit. But what do you do the following year. Nothing, move from India to China (it's cheaper - ut not English speaking). The work will come back because frankly, India is only doing cookie cutter work, no originality. The next killer app will not come from India, but will come from North America.

So bide your time, swallow your pride, lower your rates, and when the time comes when you have them by the balls, squeeze and squeeze hard...

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Mike NYC

This article is crap. In NYC there is nothing doing!! Still looking for signs of a pulse. Robert Half is mainly a recuiter for contract jobs, no permanent positions. They advertise all over Monster with admin jobs, but they are all contract.

BTW...India has come to the United States! I recently saw an ad from the Satyan corp (NYSE: "SAY")...we'll be soon working for India! Ahhhhhhh!!!!!

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Atlanta

The market here is still terrible. Lots of outsourcing, lots of H1Bs, lots of competition of every opening...

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Tony Ohio

Well i am in the same boat as all. I am lucky to get the contracts ido get and keep wondering when am I going to get a fulltime job once again. These past 3 years have truly tested my convection. But as i once read. The IT dept. for most or all companies are no longer looked as profit centers but as cost centers. Most everything has been done. Now companies are seeing how they can look for savings in It too. I truly believe the glory days are over. After 20 plus years and 3 downturns. This one is for keeps. Now where is my coupon scissors at?

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 CW Bothell, WA.

Having 20 plus years of experience, as well as a MCP certification and training as a MCDBA have enabled me to scratch out a living since my position was "outsourced" to India (When I asked why the answer was simple: Why would they keep me around when they can hire 5 people from India). I agree with some postings saying that at least part of the problem is the outsourcing to India and other cheap labor countries. In regards to "have we turned the corner" in terms of hiring, I see very little if any change here in Washington State. I don't know what drugs these people were on when they wrote this article....BUT I WANT SOME! The problem with reporting anything from companies like Robert Half is that you can't believe anything they say and half the time the jobs they do have are "imaginary" and don't really exist.... If the politicians would just get off their buts and make some laws such as "You can hire as many foreigners as you want, but for each foreigner you hire you have to hire at least 4 americans" or a union would be formed things would be better IMHO...

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I have subscribed to for last three years with same fileter. About three years back it used to be 200 jobs in email( Daily) (200 jobs was uipper limit) it has droped to 30 per day about one year back now it is back to 60 -70 jobs per day indicating the turn around is there in job market for last one yers but is not stable as it just drops to 30-40 level in between for week or so.

I am glad there is turn around

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous OH

IT people are extremely intelligent group, but we are relatively independent. So unfortunately, while big business got twisted up in knots paying big bucks to get or retain IT talent, WE bested them at their own game & almost won!@ What we didn't do, was watch the political side of the equation. While we were beating them at the money game, they went crying to the politicians to get more support for shipping our work out of the US. Hence, we were blindsided, & the play has shifted again. CEO's couldn't be more gleeful at this point, I would suspect. Having driven us back into the trenches, to grovel for a salary, no longer demanding it. How dare we think we could have been controlling them! So, until all us smart IT people get together & figure out collectively what strategy would best get the ball back in our own court, we're stuck with the consequences. Sometimes, I wish I could find a Teamsters group for IT workers!@

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Mark L. New York

I have over 8 years of experience. Worked my way up from simple help desk to full blown IT manager full certified MCSE current to date. Worked my way right out of a job after 9-11 when my company left New York. Been searching and dry as a California desert. Nothing and nothing paying over 12 dollars an hour. Started my own biz and hanging in there till this mess clears up. Its really tough and, as I see it, it will be at least another year to 2 years tops, till the IT field comes back again. Stop wishing and dreaming and find something else till this mess clear's itself up. Oh by the way, great job Dell and AOL for selling out to India. No support here.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Our company isn't spending anything unless its forced too. I suspect most CIO's are holding the budget needs close to their vests and milking everything they can out of the existing technology. Even MS has been backing down on pushing it. But the sun will start shining soon as the manufacturing capacity gets back close to 100% and expansion is needed. Then IT will boom, and experience will be in great in demand for the next decade or more.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

My company is also looking at India and other "low cost countries" for cheap IT. I hope to get a "package", but we our jobs just might "go away". Pitiful, we should be able to work in the same country where our "Customers are". Isn't there a law for US?

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 anonymous new york

If US companies start giving opportunities to entry level programmers and administrators, there will be more experienced IT personnel in the US. This would increase the supply of IT personnel in US and this would be a good reason to reduce outsourcing overseas.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Marc North Carolina

IT is still on the decline. The current project I am working with is called "Server Consolidation". We are consolidating about 10 servers onto one new server. As far as employees - the employee count has dropped by 66% in the last few years and I'm wondering if I will still be around after I help finish the consolidation. IMHO, this article is not an accurate portrayal of the "Real World" - Marc

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Dallas, Texas

Are the IT consulting firms going to ask each company surveyed?

1) How many US Citizens did you hire?

2) How many H1-B employee did or will you hire?

3) How much work will be outsourced to US consulting companies?

4) How much work will be outsourced to Offshore consulting companies?

When I get depressed I watch my DVD copy of "Falling Down". I repeat to myself, I am economically viable.

Sometimes I recall the Good Book that the day will come that we will need to have the "Mark of the Beast" to buy and sell. If I am still alive, I will be able to laugh about the big dotcom - telco - IT crash of early part of this century. I will be more concerned about the Four Horsemen and Armagedon at that point.

Cheer up! Our Capitalist society has not yet fallen but the end is close at hand.

Maybe someday our great-grandchildren will have finished paying for the war on Terror and will start to pay off the new era of PAX BUSH.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 perry chicago

Bull CRAP theIT market is dead in chicago, been in the business 2plus years can barely get a interview F bill gates

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Jim Charlotte

I agree with the comments that the jobs are being sent to India and the consulting firm that wrote this article was definitely experimenting in some pretty potent drugs when they wrote it...the worst has happened but we as IT employees know that IT hiring will continue to slide downwards because IT staff is looked at as an expense rather than an asset.....and yes it is actually more expensive to outsource if you think about it....the employee gets paid then the recruiting firm gets a cut also, so where are these companies saving money??

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 JR Florida

MJ brings up a good point, and I'm guilty of just what he said. When I "hire" someone such as a repairman or the likes, I don't think about certification and expertice, just how much will it cost? If we expect our certifications to mean something we should respect other professions and their certifications. Good point MJ.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 MJ Texas

You know, I have just read through all these post and was thinking how all the people that posted the negitive ones treat people they hire. I mean, I have spent my working life as a auto technician and owner. It is you guys that search for the cheapest mechanics without regard to ability or certification. Also if they buy your parts cheap like at Autozone you are even happier. Now when it comes to you and your jobs you bitch and complain and all of a sudden your expience and certification is worth something but not ours, how come?

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 bluewren texas

Newly certified, but with loads of experience, I can't find a job. Apparently my experience doesn't count because it wasn't earned with my certifications, but before. Also, although the experience is there, my job titles never had a thing to do with IT and even though I can prove to people during an interview that I CAN do it, they won't give me the chance. No one will even interview me since the job titles don't read "IT" in any way. And I can vouch for the fact that certifications don't count for much. Here I sit, still working low wage labor type jobs, where they use me to fix their computers but refuse to give me the title. I thought I was being smart by getting the experience and the certs, but it appears that it means nothing. And now I find myself stuck because basically my current employer has told me that if I do not continue to help out with the computers, I won't have a job at all. Did I work myself into a Catch 22 or what? Also, here in San Antonio, there isn't much in the IT field to begin with. We are losing the Philips semiconductor plant in September, which will be putting hundreds of highly trained employees into the job market...who knows where this is going? But I don't see that this survey was valid in any way, shape or form. Apparently, those who put the data together and those who contributed to the data live on some other planet... or in another country, as everyone else has been saying. In the meantime, all I can do is keep trying...never give up is my motto!!!!!

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Big Dude Santa Barbara

A friend of mine, a UNIX admin with 20+ years experience (ten times more valuable than any MCSE), was laid off from a big oil company. And where did the job go ? Yep, Calcutta. I have 17 years in at IT and built the network and databases where I work, so I won't sweat it too hard. But all these poor people the certification mills are turning out into the workforce ? Good luck, you'll need it !!!

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Mike Dallas

No, I do not think the worst is over for IT people, I , for example am a 20 yrs experience IT person, Oracle 8 DBA, MCSEI, CCNA, CNE and A plus. I have to work a contract at Dell , which is a crap job, for about 40% of my normal wages, do'nt tell me that things are looking up for IT people. YOU try to get a decent paying job in the DallasFt Worth area... It won't happen.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I do see an improvement in the IT job market but it does not take a lot to see an improvement at this point. In my area, the it jobs are development oriented which goes against what the Robert Half press release says. The other thing is that companies are still laying off. The rumor is that even Microsoft is laying off consultants as of this week which is not a good sign. Or it may mean that they are just taking a page from IBM's playbook. IBM lays off regularly. It is worth noting that in the last 2 years Microsoft has hired a number of IBM VPs and etc for key posts in Redmond. Therefore, Microsoft laying off may or may not mean anything but that Microsoft is growing into a "mature" business.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I believe the government may be hiring in IT - big consolidations going on there for homeland security

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Upstate New York

I have been certified since 1998, and have over 20 years experience in computing ranging from the mainframe to desktop client/server disciplines. I was layed off in December, 2002, and cannot even get a response from prospective employers. Can you guess why? It all boils down to money - the HR departments of all of these companies are weeding out the top salaried applicants and snapping up people who will sell themselves cheap. IT is not dead yet, but it is riddled with cancer - from the sellouts to the incompetents and 'paper' certified IT workers we are all being judged by these HR staffers and CIOs and they are becoming so selective that a person has to have literally every specific qualification that is being listed for a position to even get an interview. Personally, I am considering leaving a career that I began in the late 1970s so I can get back to earning a living. Forget all the money, time and effort you are expending to pursue the IT job market because it is being controlled by people who either don't have a clue about IT, or they are so disconnected from the technology that they assume that anyone who is a job candidate below them can easily perform all the ever increasing lists of tasks they add to the position's responsibilities and requirements while lowering the wages paid to those who will be hired to do the work. To say that I have a hard time believing this story is a bit of an exaggeration - I have been living it for the past six months and this is not the first time a head-hunter has published a self serving article in order to round up more resumes to throw at the HR departments and CIOs. I am not amused or impressed.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 pragma boston

all it means is that a slow thaw may be underway. no big deal.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

too many companies are willing to screw anybody out of a job if it saves the a dollar today and costs them ten dollars tomorrow. mgmt just needs to make their numbers for this quarter so they can get their bonuses... while loyal employees get to lose their jobs.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

With the Y2K push in 1999, technology was King and even into 2001 you saw alot of IT new comers. Starting 2001 particularly magnified by 9/11 you saw not only more applicants than IT jobs but also the slow down in economy, drop in stock market and then layoffs. In 2002 the trend was not IT but a move to other occupations (real estate, etc...). Separate from the market if you look at technology spending a lot of companies invested heavily in new technologies and e-commerce in 2000. Certainly that level of spending is not going to happen every year. However with a reduced spending in 2001, 2002 and now 2003, you would expect most Fortune 1000 companies to be reaching that point that maintaining and implementing technology is going to happen as part of the operation of the company.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

.: ... but in the U.S. or India? ... :.

Yes buy more Americans they said .. in order for them to profit more by hiring low pay workers.

Anyways as for the article, there were no sources and it does seem like made up crap.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Texas

Oh yes, hire 60 college kids and layoff 60 experienced people in order to save money, while sending more work to India. They can always save big bucks by laying off people who are close to retirement.... top management must have got their scruples from Enron.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Robert Half Technology is a computer consulting company. It would not serve them well to announce that the IT industry is on a rapid "DOWNHILL SLIDE", as this might keep companies from investing in I.T. and keep both customers and new blood techs away!!
Anybody currently in I.T knows better than to believe this story.......
Just look around.

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

And the new trend now is to export IT jobs out of the U.S. So yea, more IT jobs, but in the U.S. or India?

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

I see nothing but continuous outsourcing of IT...

Thu, Jun 26, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

The rate at which companies are beginning to open up budgets and begin buying for expansion followed by IT hiring is at a rate of much less than a trickle. It is more a rate of a drop from a bucket spanned over months. Just the other day I was informed that another firm decided that in order to remain in business it had to release another group of IT workers. I don't see where this technology company you quote in this article gets its information from. Seems more like made up information to get recognition for the article.

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