In a recent (11/16/09) report, the Hackett Group forecasts that 3.6 million back office jobs will be eliminated by 2014 at companies with $1B or more in 2008 Revenue. The bulk of those cuts (2.2 million) will fall in the period between 2008 and 2014. For 2008 and 2009, cuts come to 964,000, so that means another 1.2-plus million still lie ahead. Hacket characterizes these jobs in the following figure as G&A (an abbreviation for general and administrative, which includes IT among its categories, along with Finance, Procurement, and HR).
Things start getting even scarier when the composition of those cuts is laid out. In almost any given year, somewhere around half of all the positions under the gun come from IT. In addition to forecasting losses of 649,000 G&A jobs for 2009, Hacket forecasts additional losses of 423,000 for 2010, 220,000 for 2011, 188,000 for 2012, 185,000 for 2013, and finally, 197,000 for 2014. Do the math (divide by 2) to figure the number of IT jobs that will be affected thereby. All I can say is “Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!”
I know we’ve all been hoping that eonomic recovery would mean a reversal in job losses, and improvement for those of us who toil in the IT sector. I’m sorry to report that here’s at least one firm that believes a turnaround will not buoy the IT job count in the biggest companies, for what I can say is the “readily foreseeable future” (up to 5 years out). Thus, any net gain in IT jobs will have to come from the SMB sector and smaller big businesses, and will have to more than offset the numbers shown in the preceding figure to result in positive job growth. Good thing that companies in the SMB sector significantly outnumber those at the top of the revenue heap, but this still paints a more gloomy picture than anyone could wish for.
For more information, please visit the website for the Hacket Group at www.thehacketgroup.com.