Even though the latest overall U.S. unemployment figure rose slightly to 9.8% and many people focus on that aggregate number, Melland suggested that "the real story is what is happening in the detail." Business and services jobs, including IT jobs, increased by 53,000 in the last U.S. Department of Labor report, and the unemployment rate for those in IT was at 5.2%. "That's well below the 9.8%," he said, noting that the technology figure has remained in the 4% to 5% range throughout the recession and early months of the recovery.
IT tends to rebound more quickly than other sectors and the Dice figures indicate that is what is occurring, Melland said.
With job prospects opening up and shortages of skilled workers looming, he said that his company is advising employers that "they really need to up their game. It's been an employer market for the last couple of years," but that is changing and "the pendulum is now swinging back" so that prospective employees have more options. "So [companies] have to spend more time and energy and, probably, money recruiting," he said.
And because 52% of respondents said they expect salaries for new hires will be the same as last year, companies also may need to look at increasing pay to be competitive in a fiercer market for skilled IT pros, the Dice.com survey found.
Dice's advice to those who are job hunting remains largely the same as in the past. "The very first thing we always tell people is to be flexible in terms of location." Especially in technology jobs, if there isn't an opportunity in a local market, there will undoubtedly be opportunities in other regions. "If you're flexible on location, chances are you're going to find something that fits you very well."
IT workers who are unemployed might also consider getting more education and training in the high-needs areas to increase their marketability.
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