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Analysts Find 2010 IT Hiring Picture to Be Meager

Analysts dissecting the technology hiring picture in 2010 see little growth and a lot of movement to rent or lease talent rather than hand out full-time salaries and benefits. Some see 2011 in the same light: Plenty of work and business for contractors, consultants and managed service providers.

With the last month of the year in full swing and November hiring numbers flat, analysts watching the five segments of technology jobs as categorized by the U.S. government's Bureau of Labor Statistics find 2010 as a year of flat hiring rather than growth.

"There has been a slight increase in employment numbers in system design and IT services and other information services," said M.V. Janulaitis, CEO of technology consulting firm Janco Associates, in a statement. "This has not been enough to absorb the displaced employees from prior periods nor address the issue of recent entrants into the IT job market who cannot find work. "

In terms of numbers, November saw a hiring gain between 4,400 and 4,800 technology-related jobs--a step down from October which saw the largest job gains of the year with more than 12,000 hires. Most of 2010 experienced technology job gains, but these gains were offset by a few key months of job loss, including March, which saw a decline of 6,800.

"I don't want to overemphasize CIO's dependency on contractors, consultants and managed services: indeed they're also making key hires in many areas, but it's clear demand for full-time workers outside the services sector in particular has not gained the kind of momentum that many analysts and pundits had been predicting this year," said the chief research officer of Foote Partners, a technology research analyst firm, in a statement. "Foote Partners has not changed its prediction from one year ago that there would not be a meaningful IT jobs recovery in 2010 and well into 2011, and then some. "

Business and analytical skills coupled with technology experience are highly sought after skills, finds Janco Associates. CIOs they have interviewed claim to have a hard time finding individuals with the right business skills, but points out that when they do find those skills, they are not able to afford to pay them, which points to cost containment as still of major concern to many companies.

"With this anemic increase of jobs there is little-to-no room for recent computer science graduates and existing unemployed IT professionals to find work," said Janco's Janulaitis. "In addition, outsourcing has eliminated many of the entry-level positions that these individuals could take--painting a very grim picture. "

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The December 2010 U.S. Department of Labor National Employment Report, showed a slight increase for IT-related jobs in November, following a gain of jobs in September and October. . Janco tracks ups and downs in employment in five key job categories - IT services, computer systems design, data processing and telecommunications. Data for the past 12 months shows a minor gain in jobs for Information Services and computer systems design and related services.

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