Careers: Job Openings Grow, Worker Satisfaction Highest Ever

Workers are increasingly optimistic about their job security—and job satisfaction has increased to unprecedented levels

Things are looking up for IT professionals according to two of the biggest technology recruiters—at least as far as the technology job market is concerned.

In December, staffing firm Robert Half Technology reported that companies planned to hire additional IT workers in the first quarter of 2005. The company quarterly surveyed more than 1,400 enterprise CIOs in order to assess their hiring plans for the upcoming quarter. Accordingly, Robert Half projected a net 9 percent increase in hiring for the quarter.

Technology staffing specialist Hudson Highland Group last week reported a slight uptick in its Hudson Employment Index, a monthly metric designed to measure the U.S. workforce’s confidence in the job market. Overall, Hudson Highland Group reported, job satisfaction increased to an unprecedented level—with 75 percent of workers saying they’re happy with their jobs.

"The employment outlook moving into 2005 looks and feels stronger than at the beginning of last year," said Jeff Anderson, a senior-vice president with parent company Hudson Global, in a statement. “January is the best time to be job hunting as many companies have fresh hiring budgets and are eager to add new talent to their teams. Plus, with corporate earnings and spending on the rise, we will likely see continued hiring increases in the short-term.”

In addition, more workers than ever feel that they’re in good financial shape, with 46 percent rating their finances as excellent to good (versus 43 percent in December), and 45 percent reporting that their financial position was improving (versus 42 percent last month).

Although Hudson Highland struck an optimistic tone as it took stock of the technology job market, there was some cause for concern.

For example, the percentage of IT workers who reported being concerned about losing their jobs actually rose during January, from 23 percent in December to 26 percent last month.

Robert Half’s December numbers were also encouraging. For starters, the technology recruiter said that the Q1 2005 net 9 percent projected hiring increase was three percentage points better than the previous (Q4 2004) estimate—and six percentage points ahead of Robert Half’s year-ago projection.

Elsewhere, Robert Half found that IT professionals in some geographic locales were more employable than others. CIOs in the Pacific coastal states, for example, were most optimistic about adding new employees in Q1, with fully 18 percent expecting to do so—versus just 3 percent who anticipated cutbacks. That’s six points above the national average.

CIOs in the West-South-Central states also anticipate strong Q1 job growth, with 12 percent planning to expand their IT departments (versus just 1 percent who planned job cuts).

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.