Job prospects improve for some tech workers

Analysts say large IT operations will boost hiring next year, mostly for those with both technology and business skills

Perhaps the best thing to be said about IT hiring in 2010 is that mass layoffs tapered off significantly from their height during the 2008-09 recession, and that the long-term trend finally seems to favor job growth, albeit at a slow pace.

IT industry group TechServe Alliance said that its analysis of a U.S. Department of Labor report released early this month found that IT employment increased by 600 jobs in November on a base of 3.9 million jobs. Overall, U.S. employers added 39,000 jobs last month, according to the government report.

TechServe said that based on its monthly analysis of government jobs reports, IT employment increased by 2.5% from January through November of this year.

For sure, some IT workers are still losing their jobs, particularly in the weakest areas of the economy, such as state and local government. Camden, N.J., for example, recently announced plans to lay off one in four city workers, including about four IT staffers, to cover a large budget shortfall.

Tech spending is expected to rebound next year, with IDC predicting 5.7% growth, up from 3% this year. It remains unclear whether that increase will translate into hiring or outsourcing.

One clue that IT hiring should improve next year comes from market research firm Computer Economics Inc. In a recent survey of IT managers at 136 firms in the U.S. and Canada with revenues over $50 million, it found that 48% of the managers polled plan to add staff next year. Only 11% said they expect to cut staff in 2011.

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