IT Hiring Looks Sluggish for 2014

Greg Wheeler
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Professionals in the information technology industry regularly face new challenges as methods of organizing data and making the most of stored information change. Effective IT hiring allows business leaders to ensure they have people with the skills their businesses need for continued success. Different companies make predictions about the future of IT hiring based on information supplied by both the US Department of Labor and private sources, and these reports can differ greatly based on the methods used and information gathered. At least one major current prediction, issued by Janco Associates, Inc., foresees slow IT hiring in 2014.

InfoWorld reports that the interviews and data analyzed by Janco in November could indicate sluggish growth in IT employment and new IT hiring in the next year. The information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as well as interviews with CIOs of several prominent companies. The interviews of 84 CIOs seemed to indicate that they are reluctant to spend more on key infrastructure for IT or to hire new personnel in the near future. Worries about government actions including the changes to health care and the budget sequestration were cited as potential reasons for slow growth. General worries regarding the future of the economy also weigh heavily on the minds of many prominent CIOs.

The methods used by Janco Associates, Inc., may produce skewed results, however. The company pares away much of the information within the BLS, limiting its focus to core IT hiring companies such as those working in telecommunications or data processing. This eliminates other industries that submit information about IT employment and its expected growth. Other recent surveys, such as that produced by the Technology Councils of North America, showed a slightly greater interest in hiring new employees in the near future.

The past year, 2013, has been a tough year for IT in many ways; but at least one company looking at BLS data and its own interview sources predicts its future growth differently. The 2014 IT Hiring Forecast by Robert Half Technology, filed a month later than the Janco prediction, foresees a major boost in IT hiring during 2014. The survey of CIOs by Robert Half Technology used a much larger sample size and returned indications that more than 80 percent of those surveyed seek to hire new IT professionals in the near future. More than 2,300 CIOs were included in this survey, which also indicated that fewer companies are looking to reduce or freeze hiring in the first six months of the new year.

Surveys are not always clear indicators of the future, and analysts may produce dramatically different pictures from similar data. The most recent survey, with its larger, more robust sample size, seems to indicate a much more positive outlook than November's Janco report. Those looking to IT hiring for their next career move should study the market carefully, as the most favorable reports seem to indicate great opportunities in the early half of 2014.


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