IT Job growth will be anemic
by Patrick Thibodeau
Biennial BLS update says offshoring will limit growth in some occupations, while healthcare IT provides a boost
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts that offshoring will hurt the growth of U.S. programming jobs in over the rest of this decade, though expansion of healthcare IT and mobile networks will in turn increase demand for software developers, support technicians and systems analysts.
By 2020, employment in all computer occupations is expected to increase by 22%, but some IT fields will fare better than others, according to the BLS biennial update of employment projections.
Demand for software developers will be the strongest in this period, with increases ranging from 28% to 32%, depending on the type of software development.
The agency's forecasts, particularly for technology-related jobs, are often controversial because they can't account for rapid market changes and tech disruptions. But its estimates are often cited in various policy debates on issues ranging from education to immigration.
The IT employment growth rate projected by the BLS was characterized as "anemic" by Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates, a research firm that analyzes IT wage and employment trends.
"When you consider the overall demand for systems and applications in high-growth markets like China and India, [the BLS projections] mean the U.S. will be doing a diminishing portion of the development and implementation work," said Janulaitis. "If that's the case, the U.S. will no longer be the leader in IT.
"The BLS projections are a bad sign for the U.S. IT graduates from universities. Those numbers do not cover the net growth necessary to give all of the graduates jobs," Janulaitis added.
Job growth 10 year forecast
|Job title||May 2010 employment||2020 jobs forecast||Job growth 10 year forecast||Pct 10 year job growth forecast|
|Software developers, systems software||392,300||519,400||127,100||32%|
|Network & computer system admins||347,300||443,800||96,500||28%|
|Software developers, applications||520,800||664,500||143,700||28%|
|Computer systems analyst||544,400||664,800||120,400||22%|
|Information Security Analysts, Web Developers, and Computer Network Architects||302,300||367,900||65,600||22%|
|Computer & information systems managers||307,900||363,700||55,800||18%|
|Computer support specialists||607,100||717,100||110,000||18%|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook