A new report on the IT job market suggests a tough market for data center managers. It's not a hopeless situation, however.
Five years after the dot.com bubble burst, the job market for IT workers is getting better. While the economy is in a slow growth period,
many companies are testing the water again, but they're not necessarily looking to fill upper level management, according to observers.
According to a survey from 4Jobs.com, companies are actively recruiting IT workers at an increased level. These statistics are based upon traffic to the 4Jobs.com's Web site during Q4 of 2004. The 4Jobs.com Career Network is comprised of several niche and local employment Web sites, including JobBank USA.
"Technology continues to thrive in terms of job availability -- in particular, in eastern states such as Delaware and New Jersey, and in the south, especially in North and South Carolina," said Richard Milgram, CEO of the 4Jobs.com Career Network.
Statistics show 23% of all job postings on 4Jobs.com career boards in Q4 are in the IT sector -- a 4% increase from the previous quarter. Available positions peaked in mid-December with over 50,000 postings across the network.
Veteran IT recruiter Nate Viall, president of Nate Viall and Associates, points out that Department of Labor statistics announced last month showed the overall employment total at an all-time high, surpassing the May 2001 peak.
According to Viall, the IT sector lagged in recovery compared to overall employment. But the IT job market has been on an upswing since July 2003 and has reached a balance of supply and demand in many areas.
Milgram sees a pattern for companies hiring full-time IT staff. The first jobs to be posted are helpdesk or tech support positions, then hardware specialists and developers, respectively.
But what about upper level positions? Milgram admits that fewer jobs at management level are being posted, but that doesn't mean they aren't available.
Milgram suggests scouring the job boards for companies hiring large numbers of lower level positions.
He said: "People often approach me and say, 'I'm an IT project manager and I can't find a job. But all these companies are hiring support or admin people.'
"Who will manage them? That's your in." "Find companies that are hiring and pitch yourself as an IT director or data center manager."
Viall warns that it is a tough market for a senior level person making a move because the hiring trend will be to focus on the low end of the salary scale.
"But a drop in salary averages is enormously positive for the job market on a whole. When you see the salary averages drop, it means companies are hiring new people," Viall said.
Despite being a tough market, senior level IT workers have ways to make the most of their situation. Both Viall and Milgram agree that data center managers shouldn't wait to be out of work to look for a job.
According to Milgram, it is important for IT managers to evolve throughout their career. And the best way to stay current is to keep an eye on job boards.
"Learn more about careers and companies you are interested in," Milgram said. "They could be in your backyard."
A large percentage of the people looking at the jobs on 4Jobs.com's career boards are already employed, and those are the people Milgram wants to attract.
"People were laid off in the recession because of skill set deficiencies, competency issues and attitude problems," Viall said. "If you're unemployed and you're good, you are tainted by the thousands of people who aren't."
While Viall concedes many jobless IT workers are unemployed through no fault of their own, the job market prefers candidates without the burden of unemployment.
Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Matt Stansberry, News Editor