Skip to comments.Study: IT worker unemployment at 'unprecedented' levels
Posted on 09/18/2003 4:03:48 PM PDT by Mini-14
About 150,000 IT positions were lost in 2001 and 2002
SEPTEMBER 17, 2003
The study, which was presented at a congressional forum today by the Washington-based nonprofit group Commission on Professionals in Science and Technology (CPST), affirms what IT managers have seen in response to help-wanted ads. "I'm sure the number is 6% or higher," said Michael Russo, a data center manager at Wyeth, a Madison, N.J.-based pharmaceuticals giant.
A recent third-shift job in the company's operational data center drew 168 applicants. "There are a lot of people who are out of work," Russo said.
Randy Rosenthal, manager of computer operations at Southwest Securities Group Inc. in Dallas, has seen the same trend: highly qualified people with multiple degrees applying for jobs IT managers once had trouble filling. "That tells me that 6% has hit the IT area pretty hard," he said.
About 150,000 IT positions were lost in 2001 and 2002, about two-thirds of them in programming, the report said.
Two years ago, Phoenix-based water and electric utility Salt River Project had an open position for an operations analyst and received about 15 applications; last year, it posted a similar position and had 50 applicants. This year the 800,000-customer utility has a hiring freeze, said operations manager Dewayne Nelsen.
There was a sense of grim resignation about the latest report among some IT managers at a conference held here by AFCOM, an Orange, Calif.-based data center managers user group.
Several IT managers, some requesting that their names not be used, told of data center consolidations that led to layoffs or offshore plans. For the future, automation improvements and the development of "self-healing" applications will also hurt some IT career paths. The career advice from one IT manager was to avoid the technical aspects of the profession and focus more on IT management training.
IT unemployment rates were as low as 1.2% in 1997, shooting up to 4.3% in 2002.
But the overall number of IT jobs has seen remarkable growth, tripling in the past 20 years, according to the CPST, which conducts labor force and educational research for a range of scientific organizations and companies. The IT labor force grew from 719,000 jobs in 1983 to 2.5 million at its peak in 2000.
With the growth of IT came an increasing reliance upon foreign workers. This increase was facilitated by legislation expanding the use of H-1B visas, which allow skilled foreign workers to take jobs in the U.S. for up to six years. A cap of 195,000 on the number of visas that can be issued has been in place for each of the past three years, but the cap will drop to 65,000 on Oct. 1. L-1 visas, which allow companies to transfer foreign employees into the U.S., have tripled in use.
The report, sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in New York and the United Engineering Foundation, an umbrella organization for engineering groups, draws no firm conclusion on the offshore outsourcing trend. But it recognizes predictions made by analyst firms, including Gartner Inc., which in July estimated that 10% of all U.S. professional jobs in IT services companies would be transferred overseas, along with 5% of IT positions in other businesses.
Long term, the report says more research is needed on the effects of offshore outsourcing and the workforce issues raised by it: "Can the U.S. continue to be a prime market for the rest of the world if it is a stronghold for neither manufacturing nor technical services?" the report asks. "What are the long-run implications of these trends for American standards of living?"
The CPST report concludes that while the job market for IT professionals has weakened, it remains sizable.
"For the near run, normal turnover alone will generate opportunities for people who are determined to work in the field," the report said. "The long-run outlook is more problematic. The United States does not lack, either now or in the foreseeable future, sufficient numbers of capable people who would like to work in IT. But those people may not be willing to conclude that long-run demands for their services will be good enough to support IT as a sensible career choice."
During the Bubble Economy, which was not a sustainable enviorenment, unemployment rates went lower.
Because everything about computers was new and growing, unemployement levels were lower than in an established profession.
Computers are no longer "new" and the bubble has burst. 6% or 7% unemployment is relatively low and normal.
Get used to it.
That's a confusing statement. I am foreign born, but I am a citizen. Am I included in that statistic?
Two or three years ago there was a huge number of 1996 1997 era machines on the used market. Finding used machines from 1999 & 2000 is a lot harder. Companies are keeping them longer and using the same software. Old software that the employees know running on older reliable hardware requires far less support.
Large categories of software including database and accounting software does not need to be updated.
Companies are going to buy new machines and software when it makes business sense. Just like they buy desks, office furniture, and air conditioners... they are going to do it when they need the stuff.
They are also discovering they don't need nearly as many people as they thought they did.
Being in I.T. today is like being in the TV repair busness in the 1950's. Get out!!! The industry is going to die from lack of need.
An eye tee:
I could go on and on with all the different things I can do in the IT world. Too many people are specialist. "Well I can only write Progress Code on a Unix box" is a bad attitude.
f*ckedcompnay.com chronicled the demise of the dot.nothings as it was happening. Fooseball, Aeron chairs, free spring water, and 100-hour weeks to run a website; Something that many bright 14-year-olds do as a hobby.
The first thing that would happen when the hapless investors dumped money on a startup was that everyone hired someone to do their job. They in turn did likewise.
When Netscape started things with their IPO, I used to argue, "OK, they have a product they give away free, have no sales and no business plan. How are they possibly worth $150 million?"
Yes, I missed the opportunity to treble my money based on what amounted to an Albanian Pyramid Scam, and also missed the opportunity of losing it all.
There are still good IT Jobs. Heavens knows, the ones I still see working at my place cannot possibly be an example! There MUST be lots of good ones out there who would be grateful for a stable real job. Maybe the company does not want to pay anything for an "Overhead" department, but for whatever reason, I am confident that surely there are many IT jobs around if we could ever get the embedded bad ones to just go home.
I do know people from some of these startups. One I know left a Fortune 500 to get a piece of the action. It did not last long, and was based on a stupid idea, and briefly flourished because there were a few really stupid investors left.
So in all honesty, when we hear of the loss of all the IT jobs, many were not real jobs to begin with. The recent grads they hired, including a few friends and relatives of mine, had not the faintest idea what a workday was in the first place, and simply knew no better. Of COURSE they worked nights, weekends and holidays. Of COURSE the Nice Company, to lighten their burden, installed pool and ping pong tables in recognition of the fact that the kids were giving up their lives and marriages.
The whole era was a shameful episode.
We are just turning the dime on information technology. There is much more out there than Microsoft's quarterly releases - that's a marketing plan. Digital convergence is happening everywhere - I really don't see it stopping.
However, there is a case to be made that technology as a competitive advantage is no longer. For example - having the latest release of a software product or even having a website (online purchasing) does not give one an edge on his/her competition.
The bigger issue is with the reduction of manufacturing in America, what are we left with? We hear alot about a "service-oriented" market, but I'm not convinced. Even help desk and call center services are being outsourced to India, Ireland, Mexico, etc. Just my .02
No. But it wasn't Clinton's either.
Right. Just get out the old crystal ball 25 years ago.
You're gloating is quite annoying.
Now those people try to get real jobs and they find they don't have the skills or experience - they just got worked to the bone and dropped went their company stock tanked. "But I'm an IT professional...." so are lots of other folks with solid credentials. It's competitive out there nowadays.
The biggest fools were the investors who thought they were tech-savvy, but we all paid the price.
Sounds like you weathered the storm.
Hmmmm....it seems that companies are trying to "be savvy" by outsourcing, as it is the newest pointy haired trend. It will be highly satisfying to see these same companies starve.
Sounds like you weathered the storm.
*sigh*, Oh, I avoided the worst of it, basically because I am so damned OLD, and have seen booms and busts before, but a couple of my 401(k) funds were invested more heavily in dot.bombs than I realized, and got "adjusted" to the extent that I can pretty much forget a traditional retirement. Ah well, I don't fish and I am bad at golf.
But I feel I am truly blessed for this reason: I love my work. (What if I _hated_ it and was in this position?!!)
"Paging Doctor Kevorkian!"
6%. HA! Last week the sunday paper had exactly two (2) IT jobs in the paper. 5-6 years ago there was about 800 - 1,000 listings.
Of course, back then the Apartment communities near the IT corridor up US-75 didn't have the scent of curie wafting through the air everyday. Shame it can't go back to steaks and the game. The money stayed in the neighborhood. I guess somebody figured Western Union was making too much money sending the pay back. So they just offshored all the jobs. Ya ought to hear the customers calling in nowadays cussin the "support" they get from "Name Brand Computing." First words out of their mouths? "Thanks God you speak real english!" Sad.
And certainly we are all subject to the business cycle; and we are more vulnerable to that cycle when it is distorted by events like the technology bubble of the late 90s - an abnormally higher flight often guarantees an abnormally deeper decent.
My own place in IT is much earlier than the implementation and operation/maintenance described in most of the preceding posts. I'm a business process analyst and work across multiple technologies, creating or redesigning business processes and writing the requirements for enabling technology. One of my most valuable skills is a command of the English language. I know what things mean and can clearly interpret what folks want and need in a new process and system. I've had my share of unemployment too but am doing well as an independent consultant right now.
Haha! Yes! My town had some full-time employees on the payroll into 2002 for the "Y2K" problem!!!
Must have been someone's relatives. Can you imagine printing that in a town report?
I think the term I.T. is misunderstood. As it turns out the better word to use is Engineering. In general it is the engineering profession which is being gutted in this nation. That includes many technologies. While it is valid to say that one should "get out" of this profession in this country because of the lack of jobs it is not valid to say that engineers are not a vital part of the future or that the jobs do not and will exist.
My clients are increasingly proving to be knuckleberries who gutted their IT staff and commenced to slapping together a hundred queries that sieze up their pcs and I have to laugh as these Frankenstein.mdb's could have beem easily avoided by a couple of well placed VBA functions.
Pointy haired idiots with no real idea as to the limitations of SQL, playing stupid data mining games...
That's about when my phone rings and I commence to milk them.
Be the outsource.
Revenge, dish, cold, life is good.
Which Sunday paper was this?
An Albanian credit scam where you only got paid in VIRTUAL money, which could be exchanged for certain items. The children of these scams are with us today in the form of sites where you earn credits for reading banner ads and turn them in for prizes when you have enough credits accrued. Problem is, to buy a $5.00 item, it costs like 100,000 credits and hundreds of hours of ad viewing a month.
Yes it was a shameful period, most shameful because the public really must have thought it was real. I never realized how few people must really have thought it could last forever. It wasn't real. It was credit based. The employees paychecks were being charged to the company credit accounts in a very real way. The more valuation the company got from the bank, the more they were worth on the Stock Market. The more they were worth on the Stock Market, the more their stock were worth, and stocks were being bought with credit. The more the Stock was worth, the more credit was awarded to the companies by banks.
Yes there ARE still a lot of IT jobs out there. There will always BE IT jobs as long as idiots use computers. There just aren't and won't be as many EVEN if we get another PT Barnum in office who finds a way to create another tech bubble - because the next artificial bubble will most likely be in a different area.
Did that too. What a fraud much of that work was, especially the embedded systems work. Because something had a processor that had a date function we scared them into believing that could be a vulnerability. Most of the time the chip in the automatic door or the alarm system didn't set the date or use the date. In fact, most of the time we could not know what the date was that was currently in the chip. We did our best though.
He publically and frequently took credit for it. He still publically and frequently takes credit for it. In fact, the media still gives him credit for it. Besides, he profited from it with campaign donations from those companies that prifited most. He did encouraged legislation which encouraged those companies to continue to do what they were doing SO he could take all the credit for it. He wants all the credit for it.
I'll give him what he wants in this case: all the credit for it.
If you took credit for it, this wouldn't make it any more true.
Your argument is this: because he lied (surpise!), it must be true. Need I tell you that this is illogical?
More importantly, people in this country are amazingly ignorant on this issue: after centuries of experience, most still think that presidents have anything to do with economy. This one went even farther, assuming a president's actions can durably influence the stock prices. Silly.
I do agree communication skills are a premium, but oft overlooked asset!
That's key. If you love what you do, you'll never work another day :^)
H-1B Visas, Schmate-1B Visas!
They can't take all the the jobs away from us native Americans. We can always go flip hamburgers for a living. Oh, wait a minute, the illegal aliens are already doing that!
Interesting item that many folks overlook. The number of jobs in the IT profession tripled at the same time the U.S. population rose by about 25%. I know it isn't any fun being unemployed, but when 150,000 of these jobs are lost in the last few years, I'd hardly consider it a catastrophic turn of events for the U.S. economy overall.
Empathy - HA! Do you even know the meaning of the word? It's one of those terms that chicklet toothed corporate suits like to whine about, along with the phrase "company loyalty", when their own ox is getting gored.
Gee, I wonder why the IT people are the first one's laid off?
It's because you just don't know. That's why you wonder. Ignorance. There's nothing really wrong with your lack of knowledge, provided you're attempting to lift yourself out of that hole. Are you? Trying? If so...kudos!
It's a real shame that GOD hasn't gotten over his Jim Cane complex yet.
God told me to be nice to you, and so I will.
I mean, if we passed a law prohibiting employers from outsourcing, then they would simply close up shop here and open a subsidiary in India to do the work. I guess we could outlaw that too, and drive the entire business to India.
So we outlaw foreign investment to stop it altogether. Companies in other countries continue to take advantage of it, which results in them having lower labor costs and putting out a less expensive product.
So then we pass a tariff to even it out ... Where does it all end?
I say let the market work. If outsourcing is causing some companies to provide an inferior product or service, the market will take notice.
Take the H1B's and L1's out of the picture and they would have an employment position.
You are missing the two points I made:
1: Yeah, he lied when he took credit for it. He's lying now when he takes credit for it. The media knows he is lying but they give him credit for it, therefore they are perpetuating this lie that it was his economy so he deserves credit for it. That's insulting and has ticked me off since 1995.
After 9/11/01, most of us agree that yeah, it had already been deflating since the spring of 2000, but would have been more like deflating balloon fwapping around a while until it settled down to a level surface. (/11/01 simply exacerbated already existing problems, banks tightened up on credit and the fwapping balloon became critical mass instead.
BUBBA, however, jumped right in and said the crash was Bush's fault, MY economy was BOOMING, yadayadayada. The rest of the Democrats followed Bubba's lead, saying the crash was Bush's fault and this would NEVER have happened under Clinton because the economy was booming under HIS administration, etc, etc. You were there, you know what they said.
The public ignored them then, because we had bigger fish to fry. NOW that the next election cycle is upon us and the public is getting a little tired of constant QUAGMIRE reporting for lack of real news, Bubba, the rest of the Dems and the media, are right back out there saying the economy is BUSH'S FAULT, the economy was BOOMING under the Clinton administration, elect a Democrat if you want a job etc.
Clinton's lie, the credit for the boom, is therefore nothing more than a way of generating artificial political capital greatly resembling the artifical capital that powered the artificial tech bubble. I resent that. I think more people ought to resent that. Therefore, giving Clinton the credit he wants is bitterly sarcastic, blackly humorous payback.
Point 2: Clinton did indeed profit greatly from companies which benefited from the tech bubble. Clinton, despite popular conservative opinion, is not stupid. He knew that if he made deals, EO's and promoted legislation both here and abroad which would FURTHER profit these companies, he, Clinton, would profit even more from the donations of those grateful companies.
Clinton and his good pold boy network DID conciously meddle in the economy in order to both profit themselves monetarily and keep themselves in power.
Clinton and the DNC network deserve credit for the tiny things they did. And they WANT credit because they want the artificial political capital so reminiscant of the artificial capital driving the artificial economy. I find this insulting, and give them credit he wants as bitterly sarcastic, blackly humorous payback.
I'm surprised I had to explain that.
WASHINGTON -- The yearly number of foreign visas for IT workers and professionals coming into the U.S. will drop by two-thirds for 2004 unless the U.S. Congress acts, and an immigration lawyer group came to Congress Tuesday asking that the cap on H-1B visas not be allowed to slide back to pre-dot-com boom levels.Several HUNDRED THOUSAND H1B's in the US competing with US Citizens for IT jobs is guaranteed to increase employment. Particularly when the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows under 2 million IT jobs in the US economy
Representatives of Intel Corp. and Ingersoll-Rand Corp. also argued that H-1B visas are needed to fill technical positions where they can't find qualified U.S. candidates, but one panelist told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee that the visa program is taking money from the pockets of U.S. workers.
If you're in IT, or have a relative or friend who is, write to your congress critters (both senators and congressman) and tell them how you feel. Legislation is being considered NOW