IT worker confidence hits all-time low

Perception of weak US economy, fewer IT jobs causes concern among employed high-tech workers.

Now more than ever American IT workers fear the weakening US economy will impact their ability to find and keep jobs in high-tech, according to research released Wednesday.

Seventy per cent of 456 IT employees polled in the second quarter believe the economy is getting weaker and nearly 60 per cent said it appears to them that there are fewer IT jobs available. The results are part of a larger study of more than 8,000 US employed adults performed quarterly since 2005 to gauge the confidence level of American workers. For IT workers, the second quarter of 2008 marks an all-time low in confidence and perceived health of the market for high-tech jobs.

"It is not surprising to see confidence levels continue to decline," said Michael Winwood, president of Technisource, the technology placement division of Spherion, which commissioned the survey conducted by Harris Interactive.

The number of high-tech workers who said they don't feel confident in their ability to find a new job also increased in one quarter from 16 per cent earlier this year to 20 per cent in the second quarter. In addition, fewer IT workers feel confident about the future of their current employer. The number of those not confident increased from 14 per cent to 17 per cent, the results show.

On the positive side, the survey revealed that fewer IT workers fear losing their current job. Seventy-per cent indicated it was not likely they'd be laid off or fired in the first quarter, and 72 per cent said the same when polled during April, May and June. The number of high-tech employees considering a job search in the next year increased by 3 percentage points as well: 42 per cent of those polled in the second quarter said they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months, up from 39 per cent in the first quarter.

"Things are not as bad as it seems as it relates to the technology job market," Winwood said in a statement, citing the fact that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US IT employment is up 10 per cent compared with last year.

"We continue to see a demand for skilled IT talent needed to fill business intelligence and security-related positions such as data architects, operations analysts, network security and database encryption specialists," he said.

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Denise Dubie

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