IT worker confidence hits low point

* Fewer than half of IT workers confident they can find a new job

IT worker confidence has hit its lowest point in years, with fewer than half of employees confident in their ability to find a new job.

A few weeks ago we reported that IT job security is plummeting five times faster than the nationwide average for all industries. IT workers must be keenly aware of trouble in the industry, according to a new survey that says IT worker confidence has reached its lowest point in several years.

“It is not surprising to see this dip in IT worker confidence given the current state of the economy,” says an April 16 report by IT and engineering services company Technisource. “Not only have reports about the future instability from financial organizations in connection with the sub-prime mortgage situation surfaced, but two H-1B visa bills are currently being debated in Congress. These two factors probably contributed to the insecurity felt over job availability.”

Technisource started measuring worker confidence in its IT Employee Confidence Index in the fourth quarter of 2005. The index measures three things: how likely IT workers think it is that they will lose their job in the next year; how likely employees are to look for a new job in the next year; and employees’ overall confidence in the economy, their employers and their ability to find other employment.

IT worker confidence is expressed in an overall score, calculated based on surveys by Spherion that poll about 600 IT employees. A score above 50 indicates that overall confidence is positive. The score dipped below 50 for the first time in the first quarter of this year, dropping from 56 to 47.4. The previous low was 54.1 in the third quarter of 2006.

Specific findings include:

* 69% of technology workers believe the economy is getting weaker, up 17 percentage points from the previous quarter.

* 62% of technology workers are confident in the future of their current employers, down from 66%.

* 16% think they are likely to lose their job, down from 17%.

* 55% of technology workers believe available jobs are declining, up 20 percentage points from the previous quarter.

* 48% of IT workers are confident in their own ability to find a new job, down from 60% the previous quarter.

Uncertainty about the presidential election and talk of a recession are taking their toll, says Todd Black, vice president of the east region for Technisource. Nonetheless, there remains significant demand for IT professionals with advanced skills in security, .NET and Java development, he says.

“Highly-skilled IT workers are confident in their ability to find a new job,” Black says. “The light at the end of the tunnel is we don’t see a slowdown in these high-demand skills.”

What do you think? Feel free to post a comment on the story or send me an e-mail with your thoughts on the IT job market.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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