Business

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

Posted February 19, 2009 3:25 p.m. EST

— 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)