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Tech Hiring Remains Strong, Despite Concerns Over Impact of Rate Hikes

IT employment numbers continue to be bullish, although there are fears that more rate hikes would affect future tech hiring.

Tech companies in the U.S. added 14,400 workers in November, marking two consecutive years of monthly job growth in the sector, according to CompTIA's analysis of the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Tech jobs in all industry sectors increased by 137,000 positions, and while job postings for future hiring slipped in November, they still totaled nearly 270,000, led by IT services and custom software development, and data processing, hosting and related services.

Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA, is looking at the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation report as a "good news, bad news" situation.

"On the one hand, it offered reassurance about the stability of the tech jobs market and an indication there is still plenty of employer demand," he said. "On the other hand, it makes it likely that the Federal Research will continue with rate hikes to slow the economy."

From his perspective, the big concern is that the fed overshoots and plunges the economy into a recession.

This would then likely have a spillover effect into tech hiring in a more pervasive way, more than just hitting certain types of tech companies as seen in recent headlines.

"However, even with the uncertainty of the last several months, IT employment has held up well," Herbert pointed out.

Tech Companies Add 207K Jobs

Employment at tech companies (both technical and non-technical staff) has increased by more than 207,000 jobs this year, and the unemployment rate for tech occupations in all industries is 2%.

The organization's analysis also uncovered that 30% of all tech jobs postings were for positions in emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), or in roles that require emerging tech skills.

"We continue to see quite a few industry sectors that are stepping up tech hiring, which offsets layoffs in other sectors," Herbert said. "While some companies are reducing staffing, others see this as an opportunity to expand their tech teams."

Herbert points to the finance and insurance and manufacturing sectors as two examples, noting that the finance and insurance sector had the second highest total of tech job postings last month, behind only the professional, scientific, and technical services sector.

"So far this year, tech hiring by finance and insurance companies is up about 35% over last year," he said. "Manufacturing is up about 50% over 2021."

Many of these positions are in areas requiring skills unique to the specific industry, he said.

"Financial and insurance companies often have customer-facing websites and apps. They manage sensitive data," Herbert said. "They pay close attention to data trends."

It makes "perfect sense," he said, that these companies are actively hiring software developers, cybersecurity specialists, systems analysts, network engineers, and IT project managers.

The same is true in manufacturing, where there are many connected systems – robotics, software, analytical systems – that require a broad range of technical job skills.

Big Demand for Software Developers and Engineers

The report also found openings for software developers and engineers accounted for about 28% of all tech jobs postings in November.

Demand for IT support specialists, systems engineers, IT project managers, and network engineers was also solid, Herbert pointed out.

"There is a still a lot of uncertainty, but we don't want to completely ignore the good news," he said. "For IT pros, there is still a lot of opportunity in companies with stable business models. There are concerns, but as we head into the new year, all things considered, we're in pretty good shape."

Despite the continued strong demand for IT professionals across the country, announcements in recent months of major layoffs from tech giants including Twitter, Facebook parent Meta, Salesforce, and ride-hailing company Lyft have rekindled concerns of a slowing IT job market.

However, demand for qualified IT professionals remains strong, and that's unlikely to change anytime soon, according to industry experts.

About the author

Nathan Eddy headshotNathan Eddy is a freelance writer for ITPro Today. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin.
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