The April jobs report from the U.S. Labor Department reveals more evidence of a "substantial and irreversible shift in the IT professional work force," says IT market analysts Foote Partners.
The report showed a net gain of 17,800 jobs listed in the IT industry, though CEO David Foote continues to assert that many "business-IT hybrid" jobs remain uncounted in government reports. Meanwhile, he estimates 16 to 20 million of these positions exist.
The Labor Department report showed growth of 19,200 U.S. jobs in April in two bellwether IT services industry job categories: Management and Technical Consulting Services and Computer Systems Design and Related Services. That's 7,000 more than in any month in more than three years, Foote says. But two sectors also lost a combined 1,400 positions: Telecommunications, and the Data Processing and Hosting segment. He counts 98,300 jobs added in the first two categories in the past 12 months and 41,400 positions axed in the latter two.
The trend of employers no longer wishing to employ large numbers of their own full-timers in what are mostly pure technology IT jobs has been building over a very long period of time. It's not something that just began with the popularity of cloud computing, managed services and offshore outsourcing
He points to technology advancements that have altered the skills required to manage them, making it more strategic to source this work outside the enterprise; lower prices that have made it less expensive to replace rather than maintain some hardware; and globalization and business demands for agility that make it nearly impossible to keep all the needed skills in-house. Business agility often means you don't have time to hire and ramp up quickly enough, he says.
But he calls the "IT-business hybrid" the biggest trend and echoes his previous statements:
With none of these jobs being officially tracked in government data in any way that they can be extracted and analyzed, I would argue that some of the more compelling, far-reaching employment trends in the U.S. work force are going undocumented.