It's Getting Harder to Find Silver Linings in IT Hiring Forecasts


When I wrote about the IT hiring outlook last week, I cited a Computerworld article that found recent job listings on the Dice Web site, which specializes in tech positions, had declined 26 percent from a year ago.


As if that wasn't bad enough, a recent Dice survey of more than 1,000 IT hiring managers makes it clear the situation won't improve any time soon and, in fact, will likely worsen in the next six months. According to a SearchCIO.com story about the survey, 70 percent of respondents are scaling back their hiring plans for the first half of 2009. Compare this to a survey conducted in the summer, when 50 percent said they planned to hire fewer folks. Even more troubling, about half of the respondents say layoffs are likely in the same time period.


Layoffs are already happening, as evidenced by the increase in job applicants seen by three-quarters of the respondents. The number of resumes posted on Dice in this quarter grew 54 percent over Q4 2007. With a glut of applicants, half of respondents say they expect salaries to remain flat in 2009. More than 25 percent of respondents actually expect IT salaries to fall.


Just about the only possible silver lining here is that the pessimism level of internal hiring managers is far lower than that of their outside peers, with just 27 percent of the former saying they believe layoffs are likely in the next six months, vs. 63 percent of the latter.


Forrester Research analyst Andrew Bartels tells SearchCIO.com that outside contractors and other vendors will likely make more staff cuts than other companies. This makes sense, as many companies are trimming their spending on contractors. Forty-four percent of respondents to a recent CIO.com survey said they were doing so, for instance.