No recession signs for US IT jobs, just yet

Janco forecasts over 100K new IT jobs will be created in 2019— despite the impact of a looming US-China trade war.
10 September 2019

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Owed to its trade war with China and slowing growth, particularly in manufacturing, many economists believe the US is heading towards recession as 2020 barrels closer. According to the National Association for Business Economics, there’s a 60 percent chance the country’s decade run of expansion will see a downturn at the end of next year.

But the IT industry seems unabated by such forecasts. According to research and data collected by Janco Associates, 102,400 IT jobs will be added in 2019, as CIOs and CEOs budget for increased headcounts and approve the use of outside contractors and consultants for 2020.

At the same time, there is an ample supply of skilled and qualified professionals to fill those roles— while more active recruiting in the sector seeing a compression of pay grades for some key positions.

“Overall hiring for IT professionals remains robust,” said M. Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates.

“The rate of increase in the number of new IT positions is up slightly with between 7,700 to 12,700 new IT jobs created in each of the last three months.

“There have been 68,800 new IT Jobs created year to date— that’s 19,700 more new jobs that were added when compared to the same eight-month period of 2018.”

Impact of a trade war

However, despite confidence in numbers, Janulaitis did note that some CIOs voiced a “note of caution”, regarding the future impact of the “looming trade war with China” the IT jobs market and the lack of approval for a new US/Canada/Mexico trade deal.”

“If, and that is a big if, there is a recession, we would expect to see a decline in IT hiring. However, in our opinion, we believe that IT hiring will be a trailing indicator,” said Janulaitis.

That opinion is based on two factors, he explained; “First, the move of IT jobs back to America, has shown CIOs and CEOs that by outsourcing IT was like moving manufacturing offshore— it made companies less responsive.

“Companies will continue to hire IT pros to gain more control of their company operational infrastructure.”

Secondly, the IT industry is moving towards new technologies and workflows— such as DevOps, Blockchain, and Data Loss Prevention— which are showing “very favorable ROI”.

Until these technologies mature and become the new legacy approaches in their own rights, CIOs will have the upper hand, said Janulaitis, and that will remain the case until the first wave of recession-based staff reductions occurs and cost reduction becomes the main focus of IT management.

“Most of the new positions created focused on getting data closer to those who need it. The applications being developed are mobile,” said Janulaitis.

“In addition, the new apps are being designed with user interfaces that comply with the latest security and privacy mandates is a priority. New skillsets are being recruited.  Legacy processing continues taking a back seat.”