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Will Trump's policies increase IT employment?

Patrick Thibodeau | Jan. 16, 2017
Trump administration’s plans for H-1B visa are uncertain

But Mark Roberts, CEO of the TechServe Alliance, which represents the IT staffing industry, said restrictions on H-1B use may hurt domestic hiring.

"If a client or an IT services company cannot fully staff a team here because of the lack of available talent, that is likely to push more work offshore -- not what we want to see and harmful to other IT professionals," said Roberts.

Roberts is nonetheless bullish on IT growth for next year, based on an analysis conducted by his association's outside economist. "They are projecting 3.5% GDP growth in 2017 compared to 1.7% in 2016. If it is even close to that, IT hiring will pick up," he said.

TechServe put the IT workforce at 5.13 million last year, which grew by about 170,500, according to its preliminary estimate, or 3.43%. In 2015, it grew by 220,500, a 4.65% gain.

Foote believes it's too early to predict how Trump's policies will impact hiring, but he expects next year to be flat because of changes going on in IT.

Companies are not so much focused on hiring, but on acquiring the right skills -- and more and more that means investing in their own workforce, he said. Training budgets are on the rise, he said. The IT hiring that is going on is aimed at very specific areas, such as data analytics.

Trump "seems to be taking credit for a lot of workforce announcements that he may or may not have had something to with," said Foote. "At least it's not clear whether or not he did negotiate anything that resulted in hiring U.S. workers at these companies."

There have been questions about what role Trump played in negotiating Sprint's plan to add 5,000 jobs in the U.S., and how many jobs he personally saved when Carrier reversed course, at least partially, about shipping jobs to Mexico.

 

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