A Publication of WTVP

Has the U.S. tech industry turned a corner when it comes to employment? The news so far this year from multiple sources seems to indicate so. In a study by Gartner, the best bet for finding work in IT could be at a bank or a government agency. According to the study, 63 percent of companies in the financial services industry plan to add IT staff over the next 12 months. The runner-up is the government sector, with 62 percent of U.S. public, nonprofit organizations planning to grow their tech headcount. In addition, two-thirds of the 160 organizations it surveyed projected “some level of increase” in their IT staffing. However, the pace of hiring will be moderate, the research firm noted.

The survey showed the most difficult positions to fill are those for IT project managers, web applications programmers, computer security analysts, database administrators, and network engineers. The most sought-after skills include experience with PeopleSoft, Oracle and SAP systems, as well as with XML, the report noted. Mastery of J2EE, Microsoft.Net, Java, or Visual C# programming language is also in great demand.

Finally, the report noted companies are seeing more IT workers leave voluntarily than they did a year ago. That signals an improved job market, which presents more promising opportunities to IT job seekers.

In another survey by NimbleCat, a job search service, California is getting more than its share of the country’s new tech jobs. Thanks in part to job creation in the heart of Silicon Valley, the state captured 29.8 percent of the new information technology jobs posted on major online job boards in June, up from 26.1 percent in May. No other state generated more than 10 percent of the new IT jobs at major job boards in June.

But from the beginning of the year to June 1, job postings on tech-focused rose 26 percent to 69,957, with strong gains in some eastern regions. Postings for jobs in the Philadelphia area jumped 41 percent, listings in the New York region climbed 38 percent, and those for positions in Boston and its suburbs rose 36 percent. Though the New York area was tops in terms of job listings on, the Washington, D.C., region, Silicon Valley, the Los Angeles region, and the Chicago area were close behind.

Finally, the average number of unemployed workers in nine high-tech categories—computer programmers, database administrators, computer hardware engineers, etc.—fell from 210,000 in 2003 to 146,000 in 2004, according to Labor Department data released this year.

Though most of the news is good, there are reports that temper the optimism. For instance, mergers in the industry are resulting in thousands of job cuts. In addition, technology companies have been cutting jobs in the first half of the year. Finally, computer professionals face the continued threat of increased automation and the prospect of their jobs being shifted offshore. Let’s hope our leaders are wise enough to handle them so they don’t interfere with the growth this sector appears to be experiencing again. IBI