US employers, marking the fourth month of consecutive gains in the field, added 50,000 new information-technology workers last month
As companies continued to expand stopgap digital measures deployed during the coronavirus pandemic into permanent workplace, demand for information-technology workers remained strong in March.
US employers, marking the fourth month of consecutive gains in the field, added 50,000 new information-technology workers last month, according to federal jobs data analysed by IT trade group CompTIA. The gains came as companies continued to invest in technology such as cloud-based business processes, which can support remote work, CompTIA said.
IT employment gains in March were led by software and application developers, IT support specialists and systems engineers and architects, and the unemployment rate for information-technology workers dropped to 1.9 per cent, its lowest level since August 2019, CompTIA said.
US companies in March posted their biggest jobs gain since August after being encouraged by the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations, the Labour Department said on Friday. Overall the unemployment rate fell to six per cent and the economy added 916,000 jobs.
Corrado Azzarita, global chief information officer at Kraft Heinz Co. said, “There’s no doubt that the pandemic highlighted the importance of having a strong, agile team that can shift in moments of uncertainty”.
Azzarita said that by adding new information-technology workers or retraining employees to fill skill gaps, the company has hired steadily throughout the crisis. “Our talent development strategy for the year ahead is to continue growing our capabilities, developing new skills and diversifying our global team”, Azzarita added.
Over the past year, IT jobs have proven more resilient than jobs in the broader labour market, in large part because companies sought skilled information-technology workers to oversee urgent digital efforts needed to support remote workers and keep operations running amid Covid-19 restrictions, said Matthew Charlet, a research vice president at IT research and consulting firm Gartner Inc.
“Chief information officers were amazed at how many processes were half way digital and half paper,” Charlet said about the state of digital technology at companies in the early months of the crisis. “It’s the pandemic that exposed this”.
Including an accelerated shift to cloud-based systems from in-house servers, is now spilling into 2021, the momentum sparked by initial efforts to upgrade corporate tech capabilities. “The top areas of hiring still include remote work, but also business workflow automation and analytics platforms,” among other emerging technologies, Charlet said.
55 per cent of CIOs, in a recent Gartner survey of 184 CIOs at global companies in a range of industries, said that they plan to increase the total number of full-time information-technology workers over the course of the year.
Gartner said that most employers will look for information-technology workers to support automation, cloud platforms and remote-work projects, while shedding or retraining workers in areas such as data centres, systems administration and applications maintenance.
CompTIA estimates that by raising the running total to more than 300,000 vacant positions, the US employers posted 30,000 new IT job listings in March. About 30 per cent are for experienced information-technology workers, CompTIA said.
The tight labour market for IT talent is prompting many employers to cast a wider net for workers in high demand. Brad Peterson, executive vice president and chief technology and information officer at Nasdaq Inc., said the exchange operator’s tech recruiting remained steady over the past year, spanning the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Sweden, Lithuania, Singapore, India and Australia among other countries.
Kraft Heinz plans to take a similar global approach to talent acquisition. “We’re already evaluating how to capture the right talent around the world regardless of the applicant’s location”, Azzarita said.