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Jan 9 2012   12:13PM GMT

The IT jobs market: IT workers with business skills needed

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

According Foote Partners LLC, the technology labor market analysis firm, the United States added IT jobs in 2011, but companies are looking for a different kind of IT worker than they were in the past.

Foote CEO David Foote said that employers are looking for “hybrid” workers who have a combination of technical and business skills and experience.

“The broader trend continues to be employers hiring hybrid IT-business professional[s]  with combinations of both business and technology knowledge, experience, and skills sets unlike those found in traditional IT organizations,” Foote said in a press release.

Foote examined the latest batch of U.S. employment numbers by the Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics. Foote tracked four key job segments that apply to the IT employment market. Two subgroups fall under the “Professional/Technical Services” category: “Management & Technical Consulting Services” and “Computer Systems Design & Related Services”. Those groups posted a net gain of 5,500 jobs in December, versus growth of 9,600 jobs in November.

Foote noted that two other tech segments under the “Information” jobs category, “Telecommunications” and “Data Processing, Hosting & Related Services” posted a net loss of 4,300 jobs in December and 41,800 in 2011. This trend reveals that traditional IT jobs that require technical skills and little else are not as in-demand as the so-called hybrid business/IT worker.

So while the technology job categories have had an up and down year in 2011, Foote noted that the hybrid IT/business professional is a hot and growing area that is hard to track through U.S. employment numbers because they often get reported within non-technical job categories. Regardless, Foote recommends that unemployed and underemployed IT workers retool themselves for this new hybrid model.

“It’s going to be tough going for a lot of people in 2012 but we’re confident that the hybrid IT-business professionals will continue to be a bright spot in a tepid employment market as well as people who possess a number off technical specializations that address specific areas of perceived business risk and reward. [IT workers] really need to study the employment market closely to spot opportunities that may be available to them right now or perhaps with some additional skills acquisition. For example, there are plenty of jobs out there right now that employers are having trouble filling because they can’t find suitable candidates.

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