IT job market in N.C. is 'collapsing,' survey says

Posted February 19, 2009

— The number of information technology job openings in North Carolina plunged to fewer than 1,400 in January, a drop of more than 50 percent from a year earlier, the North Carolina Technology Association and SkillPROOF report.

“Like so many other states, North Carolina is facing a collapsing IT job market,” the report says.

A total of 1,390 openings were reported by SkillPROOF, a national talent management and recruiting firm. The company and NCTA, the technology industry’s largest trade group in North Carolina, report on IT job trends every month.

Fewer open jobs reflects a national trend. Technology Web site TechCrunch reported this week that layoffs in the high-tech job sector across the country has topped 300,000. In the triangle, hundreds of people have lost jobs at Sony Ericsson, Lenovo, IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, NetApp, Fidelity Investments and other firms.

North Carolina’s IT job sector numbers just more than 100,000 in May, which SkillPROOF says was 3.7 percent higher than a year earlier.

Tougher times are likely to be ahead, too. The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that the nation’s economy is likely to shrink rather than grow and unemployment is projected to reach above 8 percent.

The drop in job openings in January is a “reflection of their expectations” for coming months, the NCTA-SkillPROOF report says. “IT job seekers may need to brace for a tough year before jobs return.”

New North Carolina unemployment rates will be disclosed Friday. In December, the statewide jobless rate hit 8.7 percent, the highest rate since 9 percent in June 1983.

The opening total was 30 percent fewer than the 2,010 reported in December. In January 2008, some 3,970 openings were reported.

How much smaller is the state’s IT job market? In April and May, openings stood at nearly 7,000.

Among the top 15 needed skills job openings based on openings, only one – SAP – was up in January from the same month a year earlier, 60 vs. 40.

Job openings by general category last month with the January 2008 figure in parenthesis:

• Systems engineer/support: 380 (1,210)

• Software development: 220 (590)

• IT architects/consultants: 130 (610)

• Systems administration: 110 (180)

• IT management: 100 (610)

• IT sales and marketing: 90 (290)

• Training/tech writing: 40 (90)

• Business/process design: 30 (70)

• Hardware engineering: 10 (200)

• Misc. IT job categories: 30 (110)

The top 15 needed skills in January with January 2008 openings in parenthesis:

• SQL: 190 (640)

• Windows OS: 180 (600)

• C++/VC++: 140 (340)

• Oracle DBMS: 140 (340)

• Linux: 100 (390)

• Java: 100 (470)

• Unix: 100 (570)

• Microsoft SQL Server: 90 (270)

• XML: 80 (250)

• Business analysis: 80 (410)

• Windows NT/2000/2003 Server: 70 (170)

• SAP: 60 (40)

• CCNA: 50 (130)

• MCSE: 50 (130)

• Websphere: 50 (140)


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  • ncguy Feb 20, 2009

    I think this has more to do with companies not upgrading or buying newer equipment and software than the jobs disappearing.

    Companies are tightning the belt trying to survive and the old equipment is still doing the trick so why upgrade when you need all the cash flow you can get.

    I'm still running server2003 and no vista machines.

  • whatelseisnew Feb 19, 2009

    I actually advised my children to stay away from the IT field unless they planned on doing their own start-up and selling it off to one of the big boys. The real money in IT will come from the next big idea that the big boys have missed, and they miss a lot.

  • whatelseisnew Feb 19, 2009

    dhamma - What money are you talking about? If you are getting money from that monster, I would advise you not to spend it. You will be handing it back to the Feds when they start raising taxes. They are forcing themselves to a wall where they will have to raise taxes just to service the massive debt. Then we go to a depression.

  • Mean Old Mom Feb 19, 2009

    Maybe technology has also reached a saturation point. I think the rest of society has not caught up to all the technology. We are all on information overload. Our little brains can only process so many e-mails, faxes, phone calls, voicemails, cell phones, internet blogs, etc, etc, etc at a time. This affects every sector. I do appreciate the IT folks. (Hi Honey!) They help us sort through it all.

  • dhamma Feb 19, 2009

    In response to this "The biggest problem is most IT professionals are not professionals" I am not sure where you work or what you do that makes you say this. I would have to disagree 100% with that assessment. Biggest problem I have had is with folks that have degrees in other fields trying to "be" professional in IT without having a clear idea of what needs to be done or whats going on. Wasn't it the folks with a Financial degree that got us into this mess to start with?

  • dhamma Feb 19, 2009

    I have been working in IT for 16 years. I still have a job at the moment. I think there is some degree of ignorance about many folks in IT do, thats obvious based on some of the comments here. Not all IT workers sit behind a monitor all day surfing the web or fixing peoples Windows problems. My Job is VERY stressful but is also very rewarding. What I do is Not easy. I do this because its what I have always wanted to do. Facts are facts. I am tired of hearing its the media and the Presidents fault for saying how bad things are. If you look at the numbers they are not good. While this is in no way the great depression, it is bad. When a majority of you friends and family are out of work and houses are being foreclosed upon all around you, what are people supposed to do? Report how good well things are going? I am afraid thats not how it works. As far as the Bill that was passed, it may not help right away, but at least its a start. If you disagree with it, fine don't accept the money.

  • OrdinaryCitizen Feb 19, 2009

    I'm an IT worker and not worried. I also posses a Financial degree with experience. The biggest problem is most IT professionals are not professionals. They didn't go to college nor a trade school(that can be a joke school but some ok). Right now I feel if I had to leave IT I could easily take most office positions. Secretaries where we work make alot of money but spend most of their time asking IT how to do thier job.

  • james27613 Feb 19, 2009

    just say TATA to your jobs.

    Hire an IT guy or gal in India for $ 8K a year,
    no social security taxes either.

    Hire 8 of them for the price of one IT guy or gal in RTP.

  • james27613 Feb 19, 2009

    Big problem is many of these kids in college don't belong there.
    These kids should be driving a delivery truck or working on the farms or flipping burgers.

    Why are they there, the parents paid for it, grandpa paid for it or they got a rich aunt. Yes, some worked their way and paid for it themselves.

    we had one kid working for us, she was on the cell phone
    most of the time talking to her boyfriend, he was helping
    her do the work!

    That is the real reason Windows OS is so messed up and
    bloated, all these kids don't know how to read and write
    good code.

  • tobis19341 Feb 19, 2009

    I hear the IT job market in India is booming now, don't want to move half way across the world, just ask for a bailout.