Over the past year, the staffing industry has found itself remarkably busy, primarily due to a persistent talent shortage and the need for temporary replacements. This talent shortage is even more pronounced in the technology sector, where the unemployment rate has remained at a remarkably low 2.5 percent. IT jobs in greatest demand include the usual standards, such as front and back-end development. However, businesses are also looking to IT staffing firms for help finding big data and business analytics (BDA) specialists, as well as security professionals, in ever-greater numbers.
General staffing outlook in 2017
According to Bullhorn’s survey of over 1,400 professional recruiters and staffers in companies of all sizes around the globe, businesses had a growing need for staffing, especially temporary staffing, in 2016. 80 percent of those surveyed predicted growth for their staffing companies in 2017. The survey further indicated that a general talent shortage is driving the surge in temporary staffing needs.
The IT talent shortage
There is every indication that the talent shortage driving growth at staffing firms in general is an even greater factor in IT staffing. Keeping in mind that a talent shortage in a given industry is inversely correlated with the unemployment rate, let’s take a close look at current trends in the unemployment rate in the IT industry.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate for the IT sector held steady at 2.5 percent for the first quarter of 2017. Far less than the overall unemployment rate of 4.5 percent, this number shows that IT talent, and IT staffing firms alike, will continue to find themselves in demand for the remainder of 2017. Although there were a few exceptions, the unemployment rate for the vast majority of technology roles has enjoyed little fluctuation, reflecting stable demand, over the past year. The demand for IT talent may actually be increasing. The latest available data on average technology layoffs is for January and February, 2017 and comes in at 379,500. This is a significant decrease from the counterpart average in Q1 2016, which came in at 431,000. The takeaway for businesses is that filling tech jobs is likely more difficult than ever this year, and reaching out to IT staffing firms for help may prove to be a wise move.
IT Jobs in greatest demand
According to Computer World’s survey of hiring decision-makers in IT departments at the end of 2016, demand for tech jobs going into 2017 remained strong in areas such as development, tech support, database administration, and mobile applications. This is not surprising. However, among the top ten jobs in greatest demand were also security professionals (#3), as well as big data and business analytics specialists. If you treat big data and business analytics as two aspects of a single profession (BDA), as many industry analysts do, BDA professionals would hold the top spot in Computer World’s list of IT roles in greatest demand.
This month’s devastating WannaCry ransomware attack, along with Yahoo’s record-breaking data breach in December, have certainly cemented security concerns in businesses across the globe. The general alarm is putting further pressure on IT departments to fill any open security positions they may have. The likely result is an ever-increasing demand for top security talent, a trend Dave Morgan of Addison Group was already seeing at the end of 2016.
As companies gather more data than they know how to manage, the demand for big data and business analytics (BDA) professionals continues to grow. Toward the end of 2016, IDC projected that the BDA industry will achieve global revenues of $203 billion in 2020, up from a projected $130.1 billion in 2016. This translates to a projected annual growth rate of nearly 12% over the same period. In short, businesses will struggle to fill BDA jobs for the foreseeable future.
The IT staffing outlook
Due to a persistent job shortage and the need for temporary replacements, staffing firms have remained busy over the past year. In particular, businesses have been looking for help filling positions in the technology sector, where the remarkably low unemployment rate of 2.5 percent reflects a job shortage and high-demand for the remainder of 2017. It is no surprise that IT jobs such as front and back-end development remain in strong demand. However, the growing need for big data and business analytics (BDA) specialists, as well as security professionals, is driving even more businesses to seek specialized help from IT staffing firms.