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Will there be a jobless recovery for IT in 2011?

Carolyn Duffy Marsan | Jan. 3, 2011
Will there be a jobless recovery for IT in 2011?

One indicator that IT unemployment rates are headed down is the growing placement of part-time and project-based workers.

Technisource, a leading IT temp placement firm, reports a 15% rise in corporate use of contingent IT workers compared with a year ago. Additionally, Technisource has seen its revenues related to temp-to-permanent placement of IT works rise 50% in the last six months.

"We are very bullish for 2011 in the IT industry," says Michael Winwood, president of Technisource. "The use of IT contingent workers and contractors is up, and we're also seeing the permanent placement side of the market pick up the second half of the year. We see confidence" among IT executives.

Winwood sees the most demand for programming and project management skills. In programming, he sees interest in the emerging HTML5 standard as well as standbys such as Java and WebSphere.

"We see a lot of capital expenditure being unleashed on new application development, application consolidation and infrastructure," he says. "We see two different types of project managers in demand: one project manager that can oversee a lot of the new application work, and as we move toward cloud computing, another kind of project manager that understands that world."

One shift that Winwood expects to drive corporate IT investment is the upgrade to Windows 7. He predicts that recently merged companies - particularly in the financial services sector - will use the upgrade to Windows 7 as an excuse to streamline their applications portfolios.

"Many of our clients have held up and are still running on the Windows XP platform," he says. "Now we see a wave of interest in the Windows 7 arena, not just in infrastructure and operating systems but also in applications."

Winwood says entry-level IT workers should look for opportunities at service desks as a way of gaining experience, while experienced IT staff should tout their project management and business analytical skills.

"We see very healthy demand from a client standpoint," Winwood sums up. "When I look to 2011 and 2012, my concern is more the supply of IT professionals vs. the demand from clients."

Technology Web site has hard numbers to back up its claim that there's no jobless recovery in IT. The Web site has more than 72,000 tech-related job postings in December 2010, an increase of 38% compared with a year ago.

"The general trend is up significantly," says Tom Silver, senior vice president of North America for Dice Holdings. "If there's a jobless recovery, that's not what we're seeing in tech."


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