How Badly Is Economic Worry Spilling Over to IT Hiring?

Companies looking to drive growth through technology continue to hire IT workers, but a slowing economy may temper that movement.

Two states, for example, recently released separate technology council reports that show declines in advertised IT positions. And last week, Cisco announced job cuts, with analysts predicting even more layoffs if the economy doesn’t improve.

Reuters columnist James Saft says that companies have been posting profits largely through cost controls — not increases in revenue, a worrying trend. It’ll be interesting to watch what happens at Intel, which earlier this month announced it expects its third quarter growth to slow at a greater rate than anticipated due to the macroeconomic environment.

Though the IT unemployment rate is roughly half that of the general U.S. economy, at some point,  as tech spending declines, IT jobs are sure to be affected.

Two States, Two Tales

Recently, the Nashville Technology Council reported a 17 percent decline in advertised IT job postings in middle Tennessee, to 728, in the second quarter over the previous quarter. The state posted an overall decline of 13 percent in IT positions advertised, to 1,125 jobs.

Despite the drop, Nashville officials say demand for IT talent remains strong and competition keen.

Meanwhile, the North Carolina Technology Association reported 5,140 IT job openings in June, up about 1 percent from May. That slight increase, however, doesn’t make up for the 5,510 job openings reported in April, or the nearly 6,000 jobs in March. The group took a particularly downbeat tone:

There is no reason to be too optimistic in the current economic situation. We believe that demand for IT professionals in the state has peaked and will only expand again after general economic growth is demonstrated.

That report cited cuts in defense-related IT jobs, but also noted gains in financial services have at times made up the difference. Itt also highlighted the growing importance of healthcare IT in the area.

Still, IT hiring managers remain upbeat, according to Dice’s recent survey about hiring plans for the second half of the year. Seventy three percent said they expect to add more tech staff during the period. That’s up from 65 percent six months ago, when they were asked about their hiring expectations in the first half of 2012

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