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IT Jobs: No "Widespread Worry"?

By Brian P. Watson  |  Posted Wednesday, October 01, 2008 18:10 PM
 
 

The Wall Street fallout might not be so bad for IT pros. But they say the overall IT job market isn't so great to begin with. Late last week, Don Sears pointed out one positive from the Wall Street fallout (at least for IT hiring): with all those skilled IT pros losing their jobs at financial firms, tech firms have a new talent pool from which to fish.

That should be heartening for all those cast out of Wall Street institutions. But a bigger question, as Don alluded to, is knowing what's happening to IT on Wall Street now.

David Foote, CEO and research chief at Foote Partners, told Computerworld that financial firms, as well as airlines, automakers, housing and distribution firms will face bigger expense pressures, thanks to the fallout. And those that came out as victors (firms like Bank of America that gobbled up competitors in the melee) will likely be scaling back due to consolidation of their staffs.

Side note: financial firms have long been one of those most innovative users and creators of IT--what's next for them?

But then comes this from Foote:

Bottom line, considering tight credit, oil prices, and overall consumer confusion and pessimism, plus the lag time between business decisions and direct labor market effects, we won't see much IT workforce reduction or jobs shifted to outsourcing for the next few quarters. After that, thousands of permanent IT professionals will be incrementally cast off, but many will likely find new employment, join the ranks of the "partially employed" or return to school.

So it sounds like 2009 might get ugly. Well, maybe not for IT services firms, but that's been a growing trend.

The rest of that excerpt goes like this:

This isn't a big deal, though, considering that the overall size of the U.S. IT workforce is approximately 4 million. Some independent consultants may suffer, but larger IT services firms will continue to hire to fill demand. Job losses will be industry-driven, surgical and well thought-out this time. Overall, IT departments remain cautiously optimistic.

Hmmm. It's nice to hear that any potential layoffs will be "well thought-out," since often times they're really just wholesale budget cuts without much strategic thinking involved.

The whole Q&A provides a nice perspective on the IT job market stands, and where it'll go in the near future.

I just wonder how that jibes with what IT workers tell us again, and again, and again...