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Low Unemployment Rate for IT Pros Falls Further

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While the overall unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent in September, unemployment for technology professionals declined even more. The unemployment rate for IT pros dropped to 3.3 percent for the third quarter, compared to 4.2 percent in the quarter a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Dice.com report points to six professions in particular in which unemployment declined. Their rates:

  • Software developers – 2.3 percent
  • Web developers – 4.3 percent
  • Database administrators  – 3.1 percent
  • Computer and information systems managers – 2.2 percent
  • Computer support specialists – 6 percent
  • Network and systems administrators – 1.7 percent

The rate in other skill sets:

  • Programmers – 5.3 percent
  • Network architects – 4 percent
  • Computer systems analysts – 3.8 percent

It also pointed to the tenth consecutive quarter of job creation for technical consultants, a sector that has added 56,000 jobs this year.

"Ten straight quarters of job gains for technology consultants is no small feat. On-demand talent continues to be a dominant theme in this recovery,” said Alice Hill, managing director of Dice.com and president of Dice Labs. (Full disclosure: I write for Dice, too.)

People remain reluctant to switch jobs, though, according to the numbers. In the first two months of the third quarter, an average of 382,000 employees in professional and business services quit their jobs. That compares with an average of 412,000 in the second quarter and a 10-year average of 408,000.

It says fewer folks are seeing the grass greener elsewhere:

When professionals think ‘grass is grass,’ companies have to promote what makes their company unique to attract high-quality candidates.

That could mean selling candidates on the career opportunity that the job offers. As El Paso’s Miguel Gamio Jr., director of the city's Information Technology Department, put it, talking about the city’s PeopleSoft implementation, its Wi-Fi initiatives and its citywide Cisco VoIP deployment:

Any one of these, I refer to them as decade projects. These are projects that if you have them on your resume, they're relatively career-defining. If you're involved in a multimillion-dollar PeopleSoft reimplementation, that's significant on your resume.

As defense contractor B&W Pantex, with headquarters in the Texas Panhandle near Amarillo, found out, sometimes recruiting specialized talent in a remote area calls for extreme creativity.

For instance, it offers students up to $30,000 to pay for college, with contracts requiring they work two months for every month of tuition received.

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