Job Loss Slows In North American IT Sector

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Although U.S. employment numbers for June 2009, released in early July by the Department of Labor, showed fewer bright spots for IT professionals compared to the month prior, 1,800 fewer jobs were lost in the bellwether IT job segments in further signs of IT labor resilience.

Even more promising, following Canada's loss of 273,000 jobs the first three months of 2009, is the news that net second quarter total job losses there numbered only 13,000, with net gains of 26,000 information, culture and recreation jobs and 4,000 professional, scientific and technical services positions.

“Perhaps the more positive story for North American IT labor, and a better indicator of overall workforce performance, is demand trends for specific categories of IT skills,” noted David Foote, Foote Partners co-founder, CEO and chief research officer. “The recession has had minimal impact on demand for IT skills in the areas such as architecture, business process, security, communications, e-commerce and several ERP and infrastructure specializations. That was especially evident in our firm's most recent IT Skills Hot Lists that use a number of different data sources and views to evaluate and predict demand for IT skills.”

In newly updated Foote Partners surveys of pay premiums for IT skills involving nearly 2,000 U.S. and Canadian employers, pay premiums for noncertified and certified IT skills declined an average of 0.6 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, in April, May, and June as the economic recession continued to exert downward pressure on IT compensation. But in continuing evidence of counter-trending, 28 IT skills and certifications increased in value during the period, while 46 showed declines, according to the second quarter 2009 update of Foote Partners' IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index of pay premiums for 385 skills and certifications.

“There's no sugar-coating this dreary economy and its impact on commerce,” said Foote. “But it is refreshing indeed to see the continued confidence businesses have in their information technology workforces. The evidence is clear from six full months of 2009 trend data now available that employers are depending on IT's leadership and ability not only in running operations efficiently and cost-effectively, but in developing and delivering products and services that keep their companies globally competitive in very uncertain market conditions.”

For information on the latest IT Skills and Certifications Pay Index, please visit

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