Tech Cuts Slow in April

May 10, 2002 ( - The beaten-down tech sector is showing signs of life with a 31% drop in the number of announced cuts year-to-date, compared to a year ago.

According to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., tech firms said they were shedding 158,749 jobs between January and April of this year. During the same period in 2001, tech companies announced 231,470 job reductions.

Challenger attributes the drop to a major slowdown in job cutting among computer, electronic, and Internet firms.  Announced job cuts by companies in these industries have fallen by an average of 75%.

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Telecom Picture Still Bleak

The most ominous portion of the report came from telecommunications firms, which announced 31% more job cuts through April 2002 or 120, 698 positions. That compares to 91,799 telecommunications position cuts in the same period in 2001.

Challenger researchers said telecom job cuts account for 76% of the high-tech job reductions announced this year and 29% of the 555,783 job cuts in all industries.

The recovery in technology spending is expected to be slow.  Some experts do not see technology investments returning to year 2000 levels until the third quarter of 2003 or mid-2004. 

Those who are able to find jobs in the coming months are likely to discover that things are not what they used to be, Challenger cautioned.

For example, information technology managers and IT staff saw their total compensation decline in 2002 by 8% and 11%, respectively, according to an annual survey by trade publication InformationWeek. 

The survey also showed that bonuses have shrunk dramatically.  This year, the median bonus for IT staffers was $2,000, down dramatically from last year’s $11,000.