Full-time IT hiring is gaining ground, finally

Hiring moves in November reinforce the recent upward trend

The end of the year is sometimes seen as an ideal time to find a new job. You pick up your year-end bonus, enjoy the holiday parties, and then plot your exit for something new.

This year, the odds of success in the job hunt appear to be improving for IT professionals with certain skills.

The economy added 321,000 jobs overall in November -- and IT hiring was part of the upswing.

David Foote, the CEO of Foote Associates, an IT labor analyst and research firm, said the number of new IT jobs stood at 17,300 in November, compared to 12,900 in October. Similarly, Janco Associates, a consulting firm that tracks IT hiring, reported a gain of 12,700 IT jobs in November, compared to 6,900 in October.

The differences between the Foote and Janco numbers reflect the categories of U.S. Labor Department data each uses to create their analyses. But both show an uptick and the analysts agree on what the findings show: November was a good month for hiring in general and IT hiring in particular.

Foote sees some trends in his research that are underlying the employment gains. When the economy turned down in 2008, many firms shed IT workers, along with many others, and then shifted to consulting firms and contract workers to fill gaps and take on new projects. Firms are now "systematically replacing consultants with full-timers" as well as expanding their staffs, said Foote.

An earlier survey by Computer Economics buttresses the view that the climate for full-time hiring is improving. The research firm identified IT managers at mid-sized to large firms and found a slight majority were planning to hire more full-time workers.

The IT professionals employers are seeking fall into several areas, said Foote. They want people with business and technical skills, analysts, architects and software engineers, as opposed to traditional infrastructure jobs.

People with specialized skills, such security or data analytics, are also in demand, and that's been a reflected in the willingness of companies to pay premiums for certain types of certifications, said Foote.

In Foote's analysis, the monthly IT job gains in November were the second largest of the year, following September, at 22,700 new jobs.

"The recovery is well underway for IT pros," Victor Janulaitis, the CEO of Janco, said in a statement.

TechServe Alliance also reported gains in November, but only counted 4,600 new IT jobs in its analysis, a modest gain, it noted. But IT employment, now at 4.703 million, is 3.27% higher than it was at this time last year.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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