Job Outlook Is Good, but Worker Confidence Drops

By Samuel Greengard

The last few years have served as a roller coaster ride for businesses and their IT organizations. Faced with growing economic and technical challenges, workers have had to adapt and cope in new ways. A recently released study from technology talent and solutions provider Randstad Technologies indicates that the volatility isn’t likely to subside anytime soon.

During the first quarter of 2013, the firm’s IT Employee Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence among U.S. technology workers, declined to 48.6—a 7.2 point drop from the fourth quarter of 2012. Despite a stronger economy, the survey, which included 183 employers in the technology industry, found that tech workers viewed their job prospects as less favorable.

Overall, 46 percent of the IT workers surveyed indicated that they are likely to look for a new job. Bob Dickey, executive vice president of technologies for Randstad U.S., believes that the decline in confidence levels is a short-term anomaly and that, overall, American workers remain confident.

“Several reports and projections point to a very promising year for the industry, with substantial growth on the horizon,” he says. Many of these gains are likely to center on the health care IT sector—particularly as organizations adopt ICD-10, an international disease coding system that must be in place by October 1, 2014.

Among the other highlights:

    • Confidence in the overall economy declined by seven percentage points among tech professionals during the first quarter of 2013. Only 27 percent of survey respondents thought the economy was strengthening, while 46 percent said it was weakening.
      • IT workers believed that job availability diminished during the first quarter. Only 24 percent said more jobs were available during the quarter, compared to 29 percent who thought that was the case in the fourth quarter of 2012. More than half (55 percent) of respondents believed that fewer IT jobs were available.
      • Tech workers were less optimistic about their employability. Only 38 percent of IT workers surveyed said they felt confident about their ability to find a new job during the quarter, compared to 55 percent who felt that way during the previous quarter. More than one-quarter (29 percent) were not confident about their ability to land a new job in this quarter.
      • IT workers surveyed were less confident about job security. Slightly less than 60 percent of them believed that they were not likely to lose their jobs during the coming 12 months—a 15 percentage point decline from Q4 2012. Meanwhile, 26 percent indicated they were likely to lose their job within the next 12 months. This represents a 14 percentage point spike over the previous quarter.
      • Job hunting will increase. Nearly half (46 percent) of technology workers said they were likely to look for a new job in the next year—a 13 percentage point rise from the previous quarter.

      “There remains a steady job growth in both temporary and full-time employment in many industries,” says Chris Mader, director of corporate accounts for Randstad Technologies. “Demand for skilled workers is high, yet the supply is low.

      “The employment landscape to hire and retain skilled IT workers remains extremely competitive, and IT executives should already have comprehensive hiring, training and retention strategies in place to identify and secure their most impactful workers. If they don’t, they are behind and will lose the war for the best talent.”

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