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Dice: US IT hiring set to rise in 2011

Six in 10 survey respondents expect to hire more in the first half of the new year, compared to the prior six months

By Nancy Weil, IDG News Service
December 14, 2010 02:08 PM ET

IDG News Service - Six in 10 hiring managers and technology recruiters expect to do more hiring in the first half of 2011 than in the previous six months, according to the latest Dice.com report on IT hiring plans.

Dice surveys human resource managers and recruiters of technology professionals across the U.S. every six months, and its parent company Dice Holdings also conducts surveys, the most recent of which indicates "slow gradual recovery in the labor market," said Scot Melland, chairman, president and CEO of Dice Holdings, which operates the Dice.com IT and engineering jobs and recruiting services website. Nearly half of the almost 850 respondents in the most recent Dice.com survey say they expect to increase hiring by at least 10 percent in the first half of 2011, with another third expecting increases of 11 percent to 20 percent, and 15 percent forecasting hiring 21 percent to 30 percent more technology workers.

Developers are in high demand, notably those who do Java and mobile applications, with shortages of skilled workers identified in mobile application development, cloud computing, virtualization and "anything having to do with network or database security," Melland said.

Companies and recruiters are finding it challenging to recruit prospective employees who have the skill sets they need. "That was something that was surprising and a very good sign for the future," he said, adding that 38 percent of respondents in the most recent Dice Holdings survey said that it is taking them longer to fill positions now than compared to this time last year, and 52 percent of those said that is because they cannot find qualified professionals. In past surveys, concern about the state of the economy was a bigger factor than an inability to find qualified job candidates.

"This [shift] is very illustrative of what's going on out there," he said of the current IT jobs situation.

Job postings also are up 38 percent year on year as of the beginning of December at Dice.com, he said, and the increases in listings are occurring across the U.S. "Tech is such a big part of everyone's business processes these days that it's really gone up around the country," Melland said of the job listings.

At the same time, survey respondents say that they are seeing, and expect to continue to see, more turnover in jobs, with more employees moving on to other opportunities, he said. The percentage of respondents to the most recent Dice Holdings survey who say that layoffs are not likely at their companies or at the companies they recruit for held steady at 66 percent, the same as in the previous six-month survey.

Even though the latest overall U.S. unemployment figure rose slightly to 9.8 percent and many people focus on that aggregate number, Melland suggested that "the real story is what is happening in the detail." Business and services jobs, including IT jobs, increased by 53,000 in the last U.S. Department of Labor report, and the unemployment rate for those in IT was at 5.2 percent. "That's well below the 9.8 percent," he said, noting that the technology figure has remained in the 4 percent to 5 percent range throughout the recession and early months of the recovery.

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