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Tech Unemployment Falls to 2.7 Percent

By Brittany Ballenstedt // April 14, 2014

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Unemployment for technology professionals fell significantly in the first quarter of 2014, in large part thanks to the growth in fields like technology consulting, according to a new analysis by Dice.com.

Dice’s Tech Employment Snapshot for the first quarter of 2014 shows that the unemployment rate for technology professionals fell to 2.7 percent, after hovering around 3.5 percent for most of 2013. That figure is still above the record low of 1.8 percent unemployment that occurred in the second quarter of 2007, Dice noted.

As expected, unemployment in tech fields continues to remain far below the national average for all occupations, which was 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

One of the reasons for the downward trend in tech unemployment was the growth of the technology consulting field, which grew by more than 17,200 new positions in the first quarter. Tech consulting – which has been growing in workforce size, weekly hours and hourly earnings, according to BLS – is now made up of a workforce of more than 1.7 million. Technology consultants also earned an average pay raise of 4 percent last year, higher ...

Are Fed Promotions Merit-Based? Managers, Staff Disagree

By Brittany Ballenstedt // April 11, 2014

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There are some significant disparities between federal managers and employees when it comes to viewing areas like promotions and recognizing innovation, according to a new Partnership for Public Service analysis.

The report – a snapshot of the Best Places to Work in the Federal Government analysis – found that federal managers and their employees do not view certain elements of their workplace the same. This could prove as a challenge for agencies looking to drive change and improve employee satisfaction and commitment, according to the report.

The greatest disparity among managers and staff was their views on whether promotions are based on merit: 47.2 percent of managers agreed with this statement, versus 25.9 percent of employees.

Employees and managers also were not on the same page when it came to performance rewards and innovation. Just four out of 10 employees feel they are rewarded for high quality work, compared with nearly six out of 10 managers who believe employees are rewarded in this area. On innovation, just 31.7 percent of employee agreed that creativity and innovation are rewarded, compared with 46.7 percent of managers.

The analysis also found gaps on the ways managers and supervisors view leadership fairness ...

Telework Week Saved Feds 14 Million Miles, $13 Million

By Brittany Ballenstedt // April 10, 2014

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Mobile Work Exchange and the Office of Personnel Management on Thursday announced the impact more than 163,000 employees worldwide had by teleworking one week in March.

This year’s Telework Week, which ran March 3-7, drew 163,973 pledges, more than four times the 2011 number. The average Telework Week participant teleworked two days during the week, avoided a 45-mile round-trip commute into the office and saved 4.5 hours and $90 in commuting costs for the week.

Nearly all (94 percent) pledges came from the federal government, enabling federal employees to save a collective $13 million in commuting costs, avoid 14 million miles of travel and gain back more than 716,000 hours.

The number of pledges for Telework Week has grown substantially since it started in 2011, particularly as federal agencies have been required to comply with the 2010 Telework Enhancement Act.

Mobile Work Exchange calculated that if all Telework Week 2014 pledges teleworked for one year, they would collectively save $702 million. If all federal employees eligible to telework would do so one day a week for a year, collectively they would yield significant savings of more than $36 billion, according to MWE estimates. 

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Eliminating the Gender Wage Gap for Tech Pros With Security Clearance

By Brittany Ballenstedt // April 8, 2014

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As President Obama signed two executive orders Tuesday to narrow the gap in wages for men and women in the federal contracting workforce, some new data points suggest such efforts may have a positive impact in eliminating the wage gap for female technology professionals who hold an active security clearance.

The data released Tuesday by Dice Holdings shows a gender wage gap for professionals overall with an active federal security clearance, with men outearning women in total compensation ($91,309 to $76,838). These comparisons were made holding constant the years of experience, education and occupation level between the two gender groups.

“We’ve seen private industry address the gender gap in a meaningful way,” said Michael Durney, president and CEO of Dice Holdings, in a statement. “By taking these steps, our government is highlighting their own hiring gap and equal pay for equal work is simply the table stakes in the competition for talent.”

The good news for technology professionals across all industries: The salary gap for male and female tech workers disappeared in 2009. Since that time, men and women tech workers have been earning equal pay, provided they have equal levels of experience and education and parallel ...

Is It Time to Make Cyber Jobs a National Imperative?

By Brittany Ballenstedt // April 4, 2014

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With research showing a vast shortage of skilled talent to fill cybersecurity jobs, it may be time for the United States to make cybersecurity a national imperative in much the same way it did with aerospace technology, nuclear science and biotechnology.

That’s according to Sam Visner, vice president and general manager of CSC Global Security, who said that while attention is being brought to the issue through programs like the National Initiative on Cybersecurity Education, or NICE, as well as the National Institute of Standard’s and Technology’s recent cybersecurity framework, not enough is being done or coordinated to truly make those efforts effective.

“We have uncoordinated initiatives, but not a national strategy coupled with a national program,” Visner told Wired Workplace. “We have in the case of NICE a broad statement of policy but not what I would consider to be the level of programmatic strategy and resources to be a national imperative.”

Visner pointed to the draw for skilled IT workers to create and advance new technologies, rather than focus on the need to secure those advances. With technology being developed at such a rapid pace, it’s nearly impossible for even a well-trained cybersecurity workforce ...