In my last blog here “2010 Employment Situation Ends With a Whimper,” I believe I summarized the tone and the conclusions of the most recent employment situation summary from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) correctly. But I may have let the black mood color my interpretation of those numbers more than was warranted. Let me offset the picture that this report paints with a decidedly cheerier report that surfaced in Larry Dignan’s ZDNet blog from Monday (12/6/2010) entitled “IT hiring picture improves.”
Yes, you read that title correctly — it really does say something about the hiring picture for IT actually getting better! Dignan cites Robert Half’s most recent “IT Hiring Index” for Q42010. On the downside (something Dignan omits to report in his blog), only 9 percent of CIOs plan to add more IT staff before the end of the year (2010, that is), while 6 percent foresee cutbacks in the same period. As the first paragraph of the report goes on to state: “The net 3 percent increase in hiring activity is down three points from the prior quarter’s forecast, but up three points from this time last year.” Status quo maintained for the time being: modest growth, with losses nearly canceling out gains.
Here’s the good news, such as it is (you’ll see what I mean when you read it over) bullet-point style:
- “84 percent of CIOs are at least somewhat confident in their companies’ growth prospects in the fourth quarter, up three points from the third quarter.”
- “The South Atlantic and East South Central regions anticipate the most active IT hiring.”
- “Forty-five percent of CIOs said they are optimistic about their firms’ likelihood of investing in IT projects in the coming months.”
- “…a majority of CIOs (60 percent) [said] … the technical skill set most in demand within their IT departments is network administration. Database management ranked second, with 54 percent of the response, followed by Windows administration (Server 2000/2003/2008) and desktop support, each with 51 percent of the response…”
- Sectors that report hiring plans include transportation (net 8 percent increase) and business services (net 6 percent increase).
The whole thing is still pretty tentative, and I’m reading lots of touchy-feely possible plans like “feeling optimistic” and “somewhat confident,” but hey, some signs of improvement anywhere in IT are good news, right? Even wishy-washy, heavily qualified potential hiring is better than a solid diet of layoffs and cutbacks. Maybe we can limp into 2011 with some hopes for improvement after all!