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Will the Latest Employment Reports Impact Your Career Plans?

Among the many priorities IT pros have on their agenda for 2014, one is considering new employment opportunities.

According to a survey of Redmond magazine readers conducted early last month, 26 percent of you will look to change employers this year. That's the same figure of those who responded to last summer's annual salary survey. It's also a two-fold increase over our 2012 salary survey, where only 13 percent said they might look to change employers. An improving economy and a lower unemployment rate were key factors, while many IT pros are unhappy with their current compensation, among other factors.

However, according to a recent report, it may be more challenging finding that new job than you thought. The U.S. Department of Labor's monthly employment report Friday showed growth in jobs slowed sharply to a three-year low. Employers added only 74,000 jobs, falling way short of the  200,000 economists had forecasted.

It remains to be seen whether it was a year-end aberration or a sign that growth in the economy may be decelerating. IT experts have mixed opinions as to what this means for technology jobs. IT job growth is slowing, says Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates, which tracks tech employment. Only 3,200 IT jobs were added in December, 15,900 in the past three months and 74,900 in 2013, Janco reported Friday after the Labor Department released its employment report.

"The employment data is not as good as the fall in the national unemployment rate suggests and it seems to be worse for IT pros," Januliaitis said in a statement. "If you factor in the participation rate, the true national unemployment rate would be around 12 percent. That data is causing many companies to consider whether they should expand IT staffs."

However others believe the worst may be over. While IT ranked fifth in job cuts last year, the rate of downsizing decreased 24 percent versus 2012, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, which forecasted on Friday that IT would be one of the largest areas of job growth this year. IT ranked third in hiring with 26,000 tech jobs in the pipeline. Another positive indicator: Forrester earlier this month said IT purchases will increase 6.2 percent this year, with the U.S. leading the way. Perhaps skewing last 2013's IT job growth rate numbers were major cutbacks by large employers in the tech industry including Cisco, Hewlett Packard and Intel, according to Dice.

Did last week's report make you feel more optimistic about your career options or do you think it may be more difficult to land a better job than you had anticipated? And for those in IT management who are hiring, are you moving forward with adding new positions this year? If so, where is your highest demand for IT expertise?

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 01/13/2014 at 11:57 AM


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