While all IT jobs lost during the pandemic have been recovered, the hiring of IT professionals is now being hindered by a lack of qualified individuals, according to the latest statistics.
Even so, the IT job market continues to expand. Over the past year, more than 11,000 new IT positions have been added each month, according to IT employment consultancy Janco Associates. (Janco bases its information on data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics — the BLS.)
“All signs point to that growth continuing,” Janco said in a statement on its website.
The April monthly tech jobs report released by the CompTIA industry association showed the tech industry added 12,300 jobs from February to March, 2022. Software developers (3,613) and systems engineers/architects (3,126) led the pack in terms of new positions available.
Software developers and engineers are far and away the most sought-after positions companies need to fill, with more than 115,000 job postings across the US, according to CompTIA. IT support specialists, IT project managers, systems engineers and architects, and network engineers and architects are also in high demand.
“By all accounts this was an exceptionally strong start to the year for tech employment,” said Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA. “The arms race in recruiting and retaining tech talent undoubtedly challenges employers in direct and indirect ways.”
The unemployment rate for tech occupations fell to a near-record low, as tech firms added workers for the 16th consecutive month and employer job postings for tech positions surpassed 400,000 in March, according to an analysis of the latest labor market data by CompTIA.
“The already tight labor market just became even tighter as competition for tech talent reaches near-record levels,” Herbert said in a statement. “For any employer relying on the old hiring playbook, it’s time to rethink approaches to recruiting and retention.”
IT jobs across the US increased by 19,000 in March. The unemployment rate for tech occupations is 1.3%, its lowest level since June 2019 and about one-third the current national unemployment rate (3.6%).
Janco is forecasting more than 138,000 new IT jobs will be created in 2022. The IT job market now has more than 3.85 million positions in the US. As of December 2021, Janco reported 3.72 million IT positions in the US.
“Based on our analysis, the IT job market and opportunities for IT professionals will continue to be positive, but not as broad in scope as in the last quarter of 2021,” Janco CEO M. Victor Janulaitis said in a statement. “CIOs are still posturing to hire more staff and expand technologies to address blockchain processing and security applications based on market conditions. However recent events, increased energy cost, and the specter of high inflation will harm IT job market growth.”
According to the BLS, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. IT is projected to add about 667,600 new jobs, with demand for those workers stemming from a greater emphasis on cloud computing, the collection and storage of big data, and information security, according to the BLS.
The median annual wage for computer and information technology occupations was $94,729 in January 2021, which was higher than the median annual wage for all occupations ($45,760). In January 2022, the median wage for IT positions had increased to $96,667 – an uptick of about 2.05%.
Conversely, new IT hires in the last quarter of 2021 were paid 5% to 6% more than existing staff, according to Janco.
“In conversation with several CIOs, we learned that increases for new hires in the 9% to 12% range were not uncommon,” Janulaitis said. “ It is not uncommon for IT pros who are highly skilled and experienced (over 10 years) to be offered salaries at $125,000 and above. Salary disparity is a driver of dissatisfaction and an increase in attrition rate among existing employees.”
Hiring of IT professionals is at record pace with 197,000 more IT jobs so far this year than at the same time last year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
There has been growth in the IT job market each of the past eight months, according to IT employment consultancy Janco Associates.
“Information-Technology leaders say they are boosting compensation packages and flexible work options to widen the pool of prospective job candidates, as demand surges for tech talent,” M. Victor Janulaitis, Janco’s CEO, stated on the company’s website.
To entice employees and retain existing tech staff, CIOs are offering flexible work options, such as a combination of in-office and remote work. The median salary for IT professionals is expected to grow to between $96,000 and $97,000, up from just over $94,600 in January and $95,600 in June, Janulaitis wrote.
“Most CIOs have not recruited at this rate before. Janco attributes the hiring push of some CIOs to meet their company’s goals to recruit talent related to security, compliance and cloud computing, Those IT jobs are difficult ones to fill,” he said.
In 2019, 90,200 new IT jobs were created. As a result of the global pandemic. By contrast, 33,200 were lost in 2020. In 2021, almost 150,000 jobs were added to the IT job market.
All job markets included, nearly 100 million working-age people were excluded from the labor force in November 2021, according to Janco Associates, which is based on BLS data. Most, of course, are still in school, retired ill or disabled and unable to work, according to the BLS data. But, those excluded from the labor force also include 471,000 “discouraged workers,” which represents an increase from 460,000 last month. Among the reasons cited for not re-joining the workforce were the continued impact of vaccine mandates, travel restrictions, and new virus variants.
Roughly 34.4 million people have quit their jobs this year as they reevaluate their work lives, according to job-search company Joblist. A survey of 26,000 employees recently published by Joblist showed nearly three-quarters of respondents said they were actively thinking about quitting. And, roughly 34.4 million people have quit their jobs this year during 2021 as they reevaluate their work lives.
About 46% of the remaining workforce is considering leaving work because they’re not being allowed to work remotely, according to the Work Trend Index study by Microsoft Corp.
“There are 94.438 million who just do not want work at all. That is a increase of almost 612,000 individuals from the same month last year,” according to Janco Associates’s website.
Baby boomers retiring is another factor in the continued fall in the Labor Participation rate.
Overall, though, the IT job market in the U.S. has added an average of about 13,000 positions during each month of 2021, up from a typical monthly average of between 5,000 and 8,000 jobs.
Job growth in the US IT industry had slowed and took a dip in October, adding just 4,800 positions, according to the BLS data that were included in the figures from Janco Associates. That was down from 8,900 positions added in the revised September figures.
In October, the overall growth in IT positions was even as the highly infectious delta variant of COVID-19 continued to hinder overall job growth, mainly due to slowdowns in the restaurant, entertainment, and service sectors.
The IT industry’s bigger challenge is finding qualified candidates for those IT jobs, Janulaitis said in a statement at the time. And the challenge won’t end soon, he said:
From data that we have reviewed, shutdowns resulted in fewer computer science candidates graduating from universities and trade schools. Those in the pipeline for those degrees were reduced as well. One of the drivers of that trend was that the closing of borders limited the number of foreign nationals who could qualify for that training and education.
Many of the new positions that CIOs are trying to fill are in new technologies. There is a shortfall of individuals who have the training and skills necessary. There are open positions that cannot be filled. … At the same, time attrition rates are on the rise in many IT organizations.
US IT job growth was stronger earlier in the year, before the delta variant and the talent shortage: August saw a surge of 25,400 new jobs on the heels of about 18,500 in June and 9,900 in July (all are revised figures), reflecting continuing business recovery from the pandemic. In fact, IT job growth has occurred for 15 consecutive months, though it was uneven through May. I has averaged 13,000 new jobs each month so far in 2021.
The IT job situation in the US continues to look very much like the pre-pandemic state: more positions than candidates. In fact, businesses would have filled more IT positions in September had they found enough qualified candidates, Janulaitis said. Finding web developers and cybersecurity and compliance pros remains the toughest task for CIOs, he said — and is causing HR to focus more on IT staff retention.
That talent shortage has put even greater pressure on businesses to increase salaries, Janulaitis said — and US IT salaries had already been trending up in 2021.
Janco still expects 2021 to have greater IT job growth — there were 189,000 new positions in 2021 as of Oct. 31, with two more months of hiring left in the year — than in any previous year, more than making up for jobs lost due to the pandemic. The last high was 2015, when 112,500 new positions were created. In 2018, 104,600 new IT positions were added; in 2019, the increase was 90,200; and in 2020, the industry lost 33,200 positions.
There are now 3.72 million IT pro jobs in the US, Janco estimates.
The monthly tech jobs report released by the CompTIA industry association also showed slower hiring growth in October. CompTIA calculated that there were 8,300 new US tech-sector jobs last month, down from September’s 18,700, August’s 26,800, July’s 10,700, and June’s 10,500 jobs. The US tech sector’s job numbers remain above their March 2020 peak of 4.76 million positions, nudging just past 4.81 million in October 2021, according to CompTIA data.
CompTIA calculates both technical and nontechnical positions at tech vendors, with roughly 44% being technical and 56% being nontechnical; Janco looks at IT positions, including software developers, in all industries.
CompTIA calculated the estimated unemployment rate for the tech sector at 2.1% in October, down from 2.2% in September but up from 1.5% in August and July. The current tech unemployment rate is within range of its 2018-19 lows, where it ranged from 1.2% to 2.4%. The national unemployment rate in October was 4.6%, down from 4.8% in September, according to the BLS.