IT Job Sector Employment Numbers Up and Down

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IT job-sector employment is looking OK so far for 2017, with about 9,600 jobs added in July and more than 70,000 IT job positions for the year.

That’s according to the latest CompTIA IT Employment Tracker (August 2017). More than half of the new jobs added in July (4,900 positions) were in software services and computer system design, CompTIA noted.

For almost every month of the year, with the exception of April, the IT sector has reported job gains. The tech association contends that overall IT sector job growth reflects businesses’ expanding use of cloud-based technology and as-a-service options.

Seventy-thousand new jobs is low considering that the IT services and custom software category alone has added almost 100,000 jobs so far this year. Some IT sector categories, such as tech manufacturing, data processing and hosting, exhibited monthly fluctuations in jobs added, resulting in a net negative bottom line.

Looking at tech manufacturing, for example, positive job figures were posted in four of the past seven months — improved growth, but not consistent for the year to date. Positive job growth seen in July was driven by employment growth in semiconductors, electronic instruments and communications; offsetting declines in computers and peripherals in manufacturing.

CompTIA's Tim Herbert

CompTIA’s Tim Herbert

Growth was also recorded in the employment categories of other information services, including search portals (+ 2,300); computer and electronic products manufacturing (+ 1,300); and data processing, hosting and related services (+1,200).

The most dismal reporting came from the telecommunications category, which has shed 38,500 jobs this year, and was essentially flat last month, or -100.

“Telecom providers continue to remake their workforces as they shift away from legacy services and move towards emerging services,” said Tim Herbert, senior vice president, research and market intelligence, CompTIA.

Herbert notes that while the positive employment growth for the year is good, it could be better and translate to even more tech-worker hiring. He points to some obstacles — a combination of factors such as skills gaps, pipeline gaps, location gaps and pay gaps can contribute to fewer workers hired than needed,” he said.

CompTIA’s monthly report dives into IT-specific job trends based on the latest Bureau of Labor Statics Employment Situation report. The IT sector represents the largest employer of IT occupations, with 44 percent of positions being IT occupations.

In comparison to other job-sector growth in July, the IT job sector took the lead with 9,600 new jobs added. Other job-sector growth included financial activities (+6,000), non-durable goods manufacturing (+3,000), retail trade (+900), transportation and warehousing (+900), and coal mining (-200).

Given the job growth trend indicators to date in the IT job sector, CompTIA says the industry is to be in a positive position by the end of the year.

Job sectors with greater gains than IT were health care (+34,900), and accommodation and food service (+53,100). CompTIA does point out that while these sectors had greater gains, the pay for these jobs is significantly less than the average pay for tech-sector jobs.

When looking at the IT workforce – or IT occupations in all other industries – the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a decline of 74,000 jobs in July. For the year, IT occupations are in net negative territory, with five months of job declines and two months of gains.

IT occupation data tends to show a higher degree of volatility from month to month, reflecting the normal pattern of labor turnover, including workers resigning to seek new opportunities, retirements and layoffs.

IT job postings were flat for July. Software development talent continues to be the most in demand role among employers, with nearly 61,000 job postings in July. That’s more than the combined total of the next four categories.

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