Survey: IT worker demand down

ITAA 2003 IT Workforce Survey

Demand for information technology workers is at a four-year low, according to a survey from the Information Technology Association of America, and the softness in the IT market could spell good news for federal agencies.

In the ITAA survey, firms predicted they would need to fill about 493,000 IT positions during the next 12 months. This is down from 1.2 million at the start of 2000 and less than one-half of the predicted 1.1 million positions needed at the start of 2002. Sixty-seven percent of those interviewed said they thought the hiring demand would stay the same or decline in the next 12 months.

The numbers are disappointing, said Harris Miller, president of ITAA, but could represent a positive turn of events for agencies. "Because the economy is slower, federal agencies have an easier time" recruiting, he said. And some feds considering retiring "might stick around for a few more years."

The ITAA survey also found that firms are outsourcing more jobs overseas. However, Miller said federal IT contractors are less likely to choose this route because, in most cases, agencies require employees working on federal contracts to be U.S. citizens. There are also security and political reasons that come into play, he added.

It will be interesting to see, added Roy Haggerty, president and chief executive officer of Ajilon North America, whether companies continue to choose the riskier option of moving work overseas once the economy picks up.

The survey is based on a telephone poll of 400 hiring managers in IT and non-IT firms, conducted from March 27 to April 15, 2003.

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