By contrast with the recently published numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Manpower, Inc. Employment Outlook Survey for the US (published 3/10/2009) is less bullish on IT. The Q2 2009 forecast for the information sector looks like this for the second quarter of 2009, out of 38,000-plus employers contacted:
- 11 percent believe IT employment will go up
- 16 percent believe IT employment will go down
- 69 percent believe IT employment will continue unchanged
That reflects ongoing uncertainty about customer demand (going up? going down? going sideways? who knows?) and makes companies reluctant to change staffing levels. That said, Manpower Inc also forecasts a drop of 5% in total IT employees classed in their “information” sector for Q2’09, though their professional and business services category (where some IT positions will be classified) forecasts growth of 9 percent for the same quarter.
Where is this market going? I’m not sure that anybody really knows, but the numbers coming back from the Manpower survey clearly indicate that employers don’t yet have any feel as to whether the trend is up or down. Outside IT you’ll hear the same story, where the vast majority of responses also fall in the “No Change” category.
In fact, the lowest value for No Change is 58% in Construction and the highest is 76% for Other Services. By contract, those who think things are increasing/on the way up vary from 11% (Education and Health Services, Government, Information, and Other Services) to a high of 25% for Leisure and Hospitality. On the downside, the lowest number is 11% (Education and Health Services, Leisure & Hospitality, and Professional and Business Services) with a high of 22% in Mining.
My conclusion: IT is still going sideways along with the rest of the economy as business, government, industry, and consumers all wait to see if we’ve hit bottom yet, or if another trough opens up in front of us. Stay tuned, and wear your waders plus an extra pair of socks! It’s safe to conclude there’s no IT boom in sight.