Demand for tech professionals is expected to grow in 2012, according to new data from Dice.com. The IT jobs site surveyed 1,200 IT hiring managers and recruiters in November, and 65% said their companies or clients plan to add tech pros to their staff in the first half of 2012.
Among those in hiring mode, 27% said they plan to expand headcount by more than 20%. Tech pros with six to 10 years of experience are most sought after, followed by those with two to five years of experience.
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On the salary front, 42% of hiring managers and recruiters predict that salaries for new hires will increase in the coming year (which is down slightly from 47% who said so in May 2011). Forty-four percent said salaries will be the same as last year, 13% expect a slight decline, and 1% predict significantly lower salaries than last year.
Nearly half (48%) of the respondents who have open positions to fill say it's taking longer for companies to find and hire the right person than it did a year ago. They attribute the delay to a shortage of qualified tech talent, coupled with concerns about the economy
"The tech recruiting market is active, although the pace of improvement has been impacted by broader economic concerns," said Alice Hill, managing director of Dice.com, in a statement. "Many companies are chasing mid-career talent. The elevated economic uncertainty makes it tougher for hiring managers to lure tech professionals into leaving their current position."
When asked about the likelihood of layoffs, 70% of corporate hiring managers said layoffs are unlikely, 16% said they're likely, and 14% said they don't know.
The number of IT pros who leave on their own could climb, however: 38% of hiring managers and recruiters told Dice that voluntary departures are expected to increase in 2012.
That's a change from recent months. Back in October, staffing firm Modis surveyed 500 IT pros and found the vast majority (89%) were currently happy with their jobs. Nearly two-thirds (64%) said they intended to stay with their current employer, and 25% said they'd only leave if the right opportunity came along. Just 11% said they were unhappy with their current position, which includes 4% of respondents who were actively searching for a new job.
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Part of the reason IT pros have been content to stay put is caution. Employees are nervous about unemployment levels, an unstable economy, and the possibility of a double-dip recession.
In addition, companies have been working hard to keep their current IT teams intact. "A lot of employers are creating environments that are hard to leave," Modis President Jack Cullen told Network World in October. Perks such as the opportunity to telecommute, flexible schedules, and onsite daycare are helping with retention efforts. "They've made it endearing so that people think twice about moving on to something else."
Ann Bednarz covers IT careers, outsourcing and Internet culture for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter at @annbednarz and check out her blog, Occupational Hazards. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.