Tuesday, August 12, 2008 5:35 PM/EST
A recent posting on Slashdot.com cites a government study contending IT jobs are getting harder to come by. Don't believe it.
Employment statistics from the US Department of Labor show what most IT people have already realized: IT jobs are getting harder to come by. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13,000 jobs in the information industry were cut in July, bringing the total to 44,000 year over year. An additional 5,000 jobs were lost in telecom this past month.
True, these job losses are real, but they're mostly non-IT jobs. By CIO Insight's reckoning, IT employment exploded from June 2007 to June 2008 by some 357,000. More on that later.
Two of the sectors within the information industry InfoWorld cites are broadcasting and publishing. According to a 2006 BLS analysis, fewer than 3 percent of the jobs in each of those sectors are held by IT professionals. Among telecom employers, a mere 6.4 percent hold enterprise IT jobs. Not surprisingly, a majority of software publisher's employees have IT jobs; yet, more than 40 percent of positions at the like of Microsoft, Oracle and their smaller rivals are held by non-IT workers.
Each month, the government conducts two employment surveys, one of business establishments and the other of households. The establishment survey, the one InfoWorld cites, doesn't break down employment by occupation but by industry. The household survey—the one used to determine the national unemployment rate—focuses on occupations.
Analyzing the household survey—which CIO Insight does each quarter (click here for the latest results)—shows a steady rise in IT jobs. Last quarter, IT employment reached a record high of nearly 4 million, up about 10 percent for the past year.
No doubt our economy is suffering, and there are some qualified IT professionals who have lost their jobs or can't find decent work. But an objective look at government data suggests nothing but growing strength in the IT job marketplace.