IT job hunters are moving into the driver's seat.
The tech unemployment rate is below 4%, and key IT positions are staying open for months due to a shortage of qualified tech professionals, according to Dice.com. In its most recent survey, which polled nearly 900 hiring managers and recruiters, Dice found that 65% of respondents expect to hire more technology professionals in the second half of 2011 than they did in the first half. (See: Computer science grads fielding 'multiple job offers')
The tighter market is having an impact on pay - which is good news for tech pros. Nearly half (47%) of hiring managers and recruiters said pay is slightly or significantly increasing for new hires, up from 29% who said so six months ago.
"Now is the time to ask for more money," said Tom Silver, senior vice president, North America of Dice. "Negotiate hard at the outset of a new job because that initial salary may set the base for the next three years."
In the eastern part of the U.S., the most difficult positions to fill are those requiring Java, mobile developers, SAP, security clearances and .Net expertise, while hiring managers in the Midwest add SharePoint skills to the list. (See also: States with the most open tech jobs)
In terms of seniority, tech pros with six to 10 years of IT experience are most in demand, followed by those with two to five years of experience, and then by professionals with 10 years or more of experience.