I.T. Job Market Is Strengthening Heading Into '07

By Robert Hertzberg Print this article Print

Demand increases for software developers who can program in Java and Microsoft .NET.

The job market for information-technology workers is expanding, says a top recruiter in the field, reflecting a strong U.S. economy and an unemployment rate that is hovering near its lowest level in five years. 

Software developers and systems administrators are in demand this quarter as companies roll out new operating systems and look for workers who can program in Java and Microsoft .NET, says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of job placement firm Robert Half Technology. Enterprises often deploy new operating systems in the fourth quarter, she said.

"I wouldn't say it's the boom days of the dot-com era because I think people are more thoughtful now about how they are spending their money," Lee said. "But the state of IT right now is healthy."

Lee spoke in advance of the Labor Department's announcement today that the U.S. unemployment rate in November was 4.5%, up 0.1% from 4.4% in October.

Some IT job applicants are receiving multiple offers. That tightness in the market is driving salaries close to where they were at their height six or seven years ago, Lee says.

In a recent survey, Robert Half said it expects starting salaries for software developers to rise 5.1% next year, to a range of $60,250 to $94,750, and starting salaries for project managers to rise 4.1%, to a range of $72,750 to $106,250.

Next week, Robert Half will release the results of its quarterly survey of companies' IT hiring plans. Lee declined to reveal details, but said the survey would be more positive than the one for the current quarter, in which 13% of chief information officers said they'd be adding staff, compared to 3% who said they'd be cutting back.

This article was originally published on 2006-12-07
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