US IT jobs and salaries stalled in 2020, but a slow recovery is under way

Although the IT industry did better than many industries, the stall in pay and jobs is expected to continue into 2021, though the tech sector as a whole continues to rebound.

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December 2020

After three months of rebound, the US IT job market reversed course in November, shedding 8,300 jobs. That loss follows a 9,300-job gain in October, a 13,500 gain in September, and a 4,500 gain in August. For the year, the net loss of US IT jobs now stands at 81,100, still down from a peak high of 102,900 job losses this year as of August, according to the most recent survey of IT executives by management consultancy Janco Associates. 

In November, “the major loss of jobs for IT professions was in [small businesses] and consulting firms that service them; 7.5 million small to mid-size business are disproportionately impacted by shutdowns,” said Janco CEO M. Victor Janulaitis. He said many of these closures escape notice because they shut down before their debt levels require going through bankruptcy court.

Large companies have also shuttered or retrenched, he said.

Three quarters of the lost IT jobs in the US are concentrated in two segments, he said. One is data processing, hosting, and related services, the other is computer systems design and related services.

“Hiring of IT professionals has all but stopped due to the uncertainty about the recovery,” Janulaitis said. And the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic this fall, and the likelihood that vaccinations will be largely complete only in summer 2021, suggests that IT jobs will be at risk for the foreseeable future, he said, as many businesses continue to shrink and many others put off anchoring until there’s more economic certainty.

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