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High-tech employment grows

IEEE-USA reports that employment is on the rise for U.S. electrical engineers and computer professionals

By , Network World
April 28, 2010 07:09 AM ET

Network World - IT jobs could return to healthier levels in 2010 along with an improved economy, according to the IEEE-USA, which this week reported that employment grew for three high-tech job categories.

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Based on data released in April from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the IEEE-USA reports that employment for electrical and electronics engineers grew 7.8% in the first quarter of 2010 over the last quarter of 2009. The increase puts employment for this job category more than 16% higher than its “historical low” in the first quarter of 2009, the IEEE-USA states.

Software engineering employment remained unchanged from the last quarter of 2009, but it is up 5.3% in Q1 2010 from its low in the first quarter of 2009. Employment grew 4.7% in the first quarter for computer scientists and systems analysts as well.

Overall, the unemployment rate for electrical and electronics engineers fell from a high of 8.6% in the second quarter of 2009 to 4.6% in the first three months of 2010. In other high-tech employment categories, joblessness grew. For instance, the unemployment rate for software engineers grew from 4.1% to 5.5% quarter to quarter.

“As we watch for signs of recovery, we think it’s important to focus on the employment numbers. Re-employed engineers, scientists and other technology professionals will help create more jobs and ratchet the economy forward,” said IEEE-USA President Evelyn Hirt, in a statement.

Separately, Technisource surveyed about 220 technology workers and found that 32% of technology workers in the first quarter of 2010 believe the economy is getting strong (a 2% increase over the fourth quarter 2009). Forty-one percent of IT workers reported they were confident in their ability to find a new job, another 2% increase.

“CIOs and IT decision-makers are starting to see increased signs of stabilization within their own business. We are seeing technology investments being made within the telecommunication, finance and healthcare industries, which is certainly a positive sign,” said Michael Winwood, president of Technisource, in a statement. “To that end, companies are hiring more strategically than in the past and reevaluating their workforce make-up to one of a greater mix of contingent vs. permanent staff – ultimately one that is less vulnerable to the shifting economic winds.”

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