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Jobs Picture Mixed for Computer Systems Design

The number of jobs in computer systems design and related services has increased 65 percent over the last year, but decreased by 2,300 over the past month, according to new figures from Janco Associates. In addition, the number of jobs in information services increased by 21 percent and the number of jobs in the telecom sector shrank by 43 percent.

Overall, however, IT hiring slowed in October, with a net loss of 2,300 jobs in October. Janco CEO Victor Janulaitis said that compares to a gain of 31,800 jobs in September. “According to the BLS data there was an overall loss of IT jobs with the telecommunications job market losing 900 jobs, computer system design and related services losing 2,300 jobs, data processing and hosting losing 500 jobs, and with only a small increase (1,400 job added) in other information services," he said.

Over the past three months, there has been a net loss of 4,800 jobs. Janulaitis added that the BLS data is in line with what he has found in interviews with both CIOs and CFOs in companies that have IT departments with at least 100 IT professionals.

IT Employment Bucks Broader Trend

IT employment increased for the 19th consecutive month in the US, despite the dismal overall jobs report. According to TechServe Alliance's monthly index of IT jobs, the industry added 2,100 jobs in August, edging past the 4 million mark. That was up by more than 107,000 jobs from August 2010.

“Absent further deterioration of the general economy and its impact on corporate investment in IT, we remain optimistic we will continue to see growth in IT employment for the foreseeable future,” said Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe Alliance.

The number of computer systems and design services jobs was up by 0.5 percent to 1.5 million. The number of management and technical consulting jobs increased at about the same rate, while the number of jobs in data processing, hosting, and related services was flat.




More Growth for IT Employment

Though the rate of growth slowed in May, IT employment continued its pattern of month-over-month growth by adding 1,100 jobs. According to TechServe Alliance's monthly index, the number of IT jobs grew by 0.03 percent in May to 4 million, and is up more than 100,000 jobs from May.

"May marks the 17th consecutive month that the number of IT jobs has increased,"
observed Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe Alliance. “While the rate of growth moderated
last month, the long-term trajectory of IT employment remains decidedly positive.”

The number of jobs in the computer systems and design services realm increased to 1.5 million, up 0.55 percent from the previous month and 4.52 percent since May 2010. The number of data processing and hosting jobs rose to 240,500, up 0.29 percent sequentially, but down by 0.74 percent in the year-over-year timeframe. The number of telecom jobs shrank to 867,600, down 0.39 percent from April and 3.71 percent from May 2010.

Tech Workers Believe More Jobs Available

Tech workers had a slightly dimmer view of the economy and their job prospects in the first quarter, according to a survey by Technisource. The firm's online survey of 3,654 US adults shows an overall stable sense of confidence despite its index decreasing by 1.9 points to 56.3 in the first quarter of this year. In fact, the survey saw a 3-percent increase in the proportion of tech workers indicating that they believe more jobs are available.

In the survey, 33 percent of IT workers said they believe the economy is getting stronger, compared to 37 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. Twenty-one percent of tech workers believe there are more jobs available versus 18 percent in the previous quarter. Sixty-four percent of workers indicated that they were confident in the future of their current employer. This number has decreased 4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010.

Nearly three-fourths (71 percent) of IT workers believe it is unlikely they will lose their jobs, down just 7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010. Although overall confidence remained fairly stable, more tech workers believe they are likely to lose their job in the next year (18 percent said they were likely compared to 8 percent in the previous quarter).

"Our survey shows that although worker confidence didn't dramatically change, they believe the number of jobs available has increased," said Michael Winwood, president of Technisource. "Employers really need to evaluate how committed their top talent is to their organization and if they are equipping them with some of the things they value to keep them around. Talent will be a key differentiator as the economy recovers and as companies continue with plans for new technology implementations, software migrations, and other long-overdue projects throughout the year."

Canada Reports Looming ICT Labor Shortage

Canada's ICT sector, representing the country's information, communications and technology employment base, is facing alarming skills and labor shortages in the next five years, according to a new report by the Information and Communications Technology Council and Information Technology Association of Canada.

The report underscores that in most regions in Canada and for most ICT occupations, demand will far exceed supply. Employers will encounter systemic shortages when recruiting for ICT jobs that require five or more years' experience. The severity of these shortages will increase when employers are seeking to recruit ICT people with leading-edge skills such as marketing, accounting and finance competencies.

The results also show a new job market for ICT, one that has radically changed. Industry now needs workers with the leading-edge package of skills, for example systems analysis and design combined with marketing, operations management, and HR management, or people with particular combinations of domain experience (such as e-health, e-finance, and digital media) together with ICT expertise.

Over the next five years, Canadian employers will need to hire an estimated 106,000 ICT workers. Other highlights include:

* There is a pervasive mismatch between the industry skill requirements and the available skill supply in the labor market. This mismatch affects all regions of the country;
* Information Systems Analysts and Consultants, the largest ICT occupation in Canada, will continue to drive the shortages with demand for this complex mix of skills being much greater than the available supply;
* Recent graduates with co-op or internships as part of their education will, for the most part, be able to obtain relevant employment. Those graduates without co-op or internships will experience prolonged frustration in finding a relevant job;
* The gender imbalance for ICT occupations (males make up approximately 75% of all ICT employees) limits the qualified pool of employees for industry recruitment. This compounds the skills shortage in Canada.
* Recently arrived internationally educated professionals (IEPs), who have no Canadian experience, will have considerable difficulty in securing an ICT job that is commensurate with their qualifications, unless their English or French language skills are strong.

"The potential skills and labor shortage crisis has been identified as one of the most defining issues facing the ICT sector in Canada today, said Bernard Courtois, president and CEO of ITAC.

Global job mobility, technological change, demographics, declining enrolments, and shifting investment patterns have combined to create a pending shortfall among skilled ICT workers.

The study reinforces the emerging trends that ICTC, ITAC and other national associations, the government of Canada and the post-secondary education community have been noting. ICTC's 2008 labor market outlook report released consistent findings, and the sector has been working since then to curb the severity of the skills and labor shortfall. More than 100 of these organizations, including ICTC and ITAC, have provided leadership and consultations to the government of Canada's Digital Economy Strategy, set to roll out in the coming months.

Furthermore, ICTC has focused on the integration of Internationally Educated Professionals into Canadian industry, educating and creating awareness of the opportunities that ICT jobs provide through its Focus on Information Technology (FIT) high school program, and ensuring that ICTC is capturing the complexity and changes in the ICT labor market by including eHealth and Digital Media into labor market information that is researched by the organization. In addition, ICTC is developing a comprehensive program that recognizes the professionalism of Canada`s ICT workforce based on ICTC`s national competency profiles.

But more work at a greater intensity is now required. "Moving forward, industry, government, education and associations must continue to mobilize in a concentrated effort to respond to what is needed to address this looming skills and labour shortages," said Paul Swinwood, president and CEO of ICTC. "These partnerships will form the necessary collaborations to develop and implement the integrated strategies and programs to address the challenges and issues we face today and over the next five years."

ICTC has identified five levers for change and accompanying recommendations to address the issues identified in the labor market study:

*The country has to maintain and, ideally, grow enrolment in ICT-related post-secondary programs beyond current levels
* Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) must be integrated;
* Post-secondary education must shift to integrated, cross-discipline programs with practicum components and professional development opportunities to ensure graduates are equipped with the mix of skills employers are looking for.
* Employers need to invest in "nearly qualified" candidates and make professional development accessible, flexible and focused on providing employees with the skills required to meet their rapidly changing needs.
* Improved diversity and inclusion of under-represented groups in the ICT industry will provide critical productivity gains and competitive advantages for Canadian business in a global marketplace.

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