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Sluggish Hiring Expected to Improve

While there's a sense of optimism surrounding the greater IT jobs market, insurance IT pros face much gloomier prospects.

Sluggish Hiring Expected to Improve - Despite reports of a thaw in permanent IT hiring, analyst reports this week find little in the numbers to cheer about.

Janco Associates finds November's increase of just 4,800 IT jobs, in line with the numbers from Foote Partners, show 2010 as a flat year for hiring. Industry group TechServe Alliance put the November job gain at just 600.

Janco CEO. M.V. Janulaitis said:

There has been a slight increase in employment numbers in system design and IT services and other information services. This has not been enough to absorb the displaced employees from prior periods nor address the issue of recent entrants into the IT job market who cannot find work.

In addition, outsourcing has eliminated many of the entry-level positions that these individuals could take - painting a very grim picture.

David Foote of Foote Partners attributed most of the job growth not to permanent hiring, but for consultants, contractors and managed services. eWEEK quotes him saying:

Foote Partners has not changed its prediction from one year ago that there would not be a meaningful IT jobs recovery in 2010 and well into 2011, and then some.

Meanwhile, a slightly more optimistic survey from Robert Half Technology, based on interviews with 1,400 U.S. CIOs, finds that 11 percent plan to add staff in the first quarter, while 3 percent plan to cut jobs, reports the Fort Worth (Texas) Business Press. The net 8 percent increase is up 5 points from the fourth quarter and the highest rate in a year. The survey also found:

  • Eighty-four percent of CIOs are at least somewhat confident in their companies' growth prospects in the first quarter; 35 percent are very confident.
  • Fifty-four percent of CIOs said they expect to encounter recruiting challenges in the coming quarter.
  • They listed the biggest challenges in hiring skilled professionals in networking, followed by security and software development. (Janco pointed to hot demand for business and analytical skills coupled with IT experience, saying that even if companies find an appropriate candidate, they often can afford the salaries these folks command. )
  • Network administration is the most in-demand skill, followed by Windows administration, desktop support and database management.

Based on responses, the research and advisory services firm believes that spending will still be restrained, and IT departments will continue to be asked to work under the "more with less" mantra, but they also will receive the green light to take risks with projects that promise long-term improvements in the ability of IT to support new business initiatives. But there's still a catch. "The message seems to be that while companies are increasing IT operational spending, the commitment is still soft, and IT executives are willing to pay a bit of a premium to maintain a flexible workforce," Computer Economics writes.

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The December 2010 U.S. Department of Labor National Employment Report, showed a slight increase for IT-related jobs in November, following a gain of jobs in September and October. . Janco tracks ups and downs in employment in five key job categories - IT services, computer systems design, data processing and telecommunications. Data for the past 12 months shows a minor gain in jobs for Information Services and computer systems design and related services.

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