Employers Demand Less, Need More From IT

April 3, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employers will be looking to hire 900,000 information technology workers this year, just half of last year's projected need.

But roughly half of those jobs will go unfilled due to a lack of applicants with the right skills, according to a new survey.

Those numbers are down 44% from last year’s projected demand for 1.6 million workers and a shortfall of approximately 850,000, as employers trim their hiring plans.

“Bridging the Gap,” a study by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) finds a national IT workforce of 10.4 million, excluding government, not-for-profit and firms with less than 50 employees. That is up 4% from a year ago and represents roughly 7% of the US workforce, according to the study.

Short Staffed

According to the study, one in every 14 American workers was involved in information technology, and one in every 12 IT jobs went unfilled for lack of an appropriately skilled applicant.

Non-IT companies still represent the greatest hiring challenge, where 9.5 million IT workers are currently employed. Non-IT companies expect their IT workers to remain on staff an average of six months longer than their IT company counterparts, citing an “acceptable” tenure of 36 months. Non-IT firms appear to retain their IT workers longer ? with 82% staying on an acceptable length of time, compared with just 74% for IT firms.

Special Needs

A quarter of the new opportunities will be in technical support this year, but last year employers said they needed three times as many of those workers.

Demand is up for enterprise systems and network design and administration, but down in technical writing, digital media and database development and administration. Web development demand is expected to drop 25% this year.

The study was compiled from interviews with 191 IT companies and 494 Non-IT companies, representing one out every 70 IT companies and one out of every 600 non-IT companies of this size in the nation.