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IT Hiring Picture For 2011 Mixed

A survey of various IT sector hiring forecasts for 2011 show a mixed bag, with companies planning to bring in more people but still relying, at least in part, on contract or temporary workers rather than making permanent hires. The technology consulting firm Janco Associates reports a slight increase in hiring in some IT areas, but not enough to offset the job losses in IT during the recession. But a survey of hiring managers and recruiters by the tech employment Web site Dice.com reveals six in

A survey of various IT sector hiring forecasts for 2011 show a mixed bag, with companies planning to bring in more people but still relying, at least in part, on contract or temporary workers rather than making permanent hires. The technology consulting firm Janco Associates reports a slight increase in hiring in some IT areas, but not enough to offset the job losses in IT during the recession. But a survey of hiring managers and recruiters by the tech employment Web site Dice.com reveals six in 10 plan to hire workers in the coming year, although it does not distinguish between permanent and temporary hires.

The U.S. IT industry has grown faster so far in 2010 than in 2009 and twice as fast as the economy as a whole, reports Forrester Research, which forecasts a 7.4 percent increase in IT spending in 2011. But an increase in spending by customers doesn't necessarily mean a commensurate increase in hiring.

To be sure, some companies are making some new permanent hires, says David Foote, co-founder and chief research officer of Foote Partners, an IT consulting firm, "but it's clear that demand for full-time workers outside the services sector in particular has not gained the kind of momentum that many analysts and pundits had been predicting this year."

And Janco Associates says that, while it has detected hiring increases in systems design and in various IT services categories, the job gains are still not enough to offset the losses from earlier this year. The firm cites U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics figures that show an increase of 4,400 to 4,800 IT jobs in November, but that is down substantially from the 12,000 jobs created in October. There have also been months in which net job losses were reported, such as March's 6,800 jobs decline.

But a more optimistic forecast comes from John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement services firm that also tracks employment trends. Challenger points to evidence of increased IT spending in 2010 after the recession period of late-2008 through 2009. As enterprises continue spending, IT manufacturing jobs are likely to increase along with IT jobs within enterprises.

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