General Economy Affecting IT Employee Confidence

By Allen Bernard

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Even though demand hasn't really changed, IT workers, like employees in other industries, are getting nervous about where the economy is heading.


According to a recent, online poll by staffing firm Technisource, the IT Employee Confidence Index, a measure of overall confidence among U.S. IT workers, dropped 8.6 points to 47.4 in the first quarter of 2008, reaching its lowest level since measurement began in 2005.


Technisource is the technology placement division of Spherion Corp.

The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive.


IT worker's faith in their own abilities has not changed much, nor has their confidence in being able to find another job if the need arises, said Michael Winwood, President of Technisource.


"Though the perception overall is that the economy is not heading in the right direction, which the general workforce has that perception, there's still a relatively high confidence level in their own sphere, in their own little world, as it relates to stability and their ability to find a new position," he said.



Other results from the IT employment report suggest that:


• Sixty-nine percent of technology workers believe the economy is getting weaker, up 17 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2007.


• Nearly two-thirds of technology workers (62%) are still confident in the future of their current employer, compared to 66% from the previous quarter.


• More than half of technology workers (55%) believe that fewer jobs are available, up 20 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2007; yet 48% are still confident in their ability to find a new job.


On the plus side, demand for highly skilled IT staffers is as strong as ever, said Winwood. ERP, SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoft, .Net, Java, business intelligence and systems architecture are all hot areas. Good project managers are also in high demand right now.


Winwood chalks this up to the cost saving and competitiveness initiatives many companies have been working on since the early part of this decade.


"We have definitely seen the higher-end skills, the application developers, core systems, in a lot of the verticals we deal with, continue to be strong," he said. "If there is a softness at all in the IT staffing world its in the lower end skills."




The 2008 Technisource IT Employment Report was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of Technisource between January 7-9, January 16-18, February 6-8, February 11-13, March 4-6 and March 10-12, 2008. Surveys were conducted among a U.S. sample of 9,512 employed adults, aged 18 years and older, of whom 578 work in information technology positions.