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IT job security plummets five times faster than nationwide average

Outsourcing to foreign locations, weak economy puts employees in peril

By Jon Brodkin, Network World
April 02, 2008 12:05 AM ET

Job security for IT professionals plummeted more than 10% from January to February of this year, far surpassing the average job security declines seen nationwide in a rigorous analysis of U.S. employment patterns.

Nationwide for all industries, job security fell 1.9% in February, according to ScoreLogix’s Job Security Index, a tool that predicts an employed person’s probability of job loss.

IT job security fell 10.2% in February, the eighth decline in 13 months and largest drop in more than a year.
“This reduced demand for IT jobs, which has lowered job security level in the IT sector, can be attributed to outsourcing, offshoring, and relocation of production to cheaper, foreign locations,” ScoreLogix analysts state in a report sent to Network World. “In addition, companies have reduced their investment in IT infrastructure because of lack of compelling, technologically superior upgrades – since existing infrastructure works just fine. Besides, the economy is weak and offers every incentive to cut costs and scale back non-essential, avoidable investments in technology related products and services.”

The Job Security Index is based on a patent-pending unemployment risk scoring model that utilizes research conducted by ScoreLogix and analysis of economic data from government agencies and other sources.

The Index produces a number, generally well over 100, which indicates how robust job security is compared to January 1998, when overall job security in the United States was exactly 100, according to Suresh Annappindi, founder and CEO of ScoreLogix in Delaware.

Compared to that baseline level, the IT job security score in February of 135.3 seems good. But job security should generally increase over time (with inevitable peaks and valleys), Annappindi notes. IT job security has dropped precipitously, from 181.5 in April 2007 and 150.6 in January of this year.

February 2008 was the only time IT job security was worse than the national average in the 13 months ScoreLogix provided data for. In the all-industry score, job security never rose above 153.4 in 2007 and in February of this year dropped to 136.3.

The chances of an IT professional losing his or her job seems to have flatlined and probably won’t increase or decrease significantly any time soon, Annappindi says.

“The IT sector is performing much worse than the overall national economy,” he says. “It probably won’t go back up in the next six months. We don’t think the trend is going to go up in any significant way. There could be a little bit of up and down.”

IT job cuts could have impacts well beyond the personal suffering due to loss of salary. Cisco security expert Jamey Heary explained in a recent blog posting that an economic recession and related budget cuts in IT security “could leave companies wide open to cyberattacks.” 


You may have noticed the career newsletter is being written by a new author - at least temporarily. I'm taking over for Linda Leung while she is on maternity leave, and am excited to learn more about the career issues affecting IT pros. I typically write about servers, storage, and a whole bunch of other things such as Google, Web 2.0 and Internet security. Feel free to comment on my newsletter or e-mail me with ideas.

Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

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