Unemployment Remains Low for Tech Pros

At 3.9 percent, it's just under half the national rate, but still higher than it's been in nearly two years.

Above average turnover rates for information technology professionals may signal that confidence in the tech job market is on the rise, particularly as the sector continues to enjoy relatively low unemployment compared to U.S. workers overall, according to new research.

Dice.com’s Tech Employment Snapshot for the third quarter of 2013, which uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows a 3.9 percent unemployment for technology professionals, just less than half of the 7.3 percent unemployment rate for the U.S. overall. This marked a slight uptick in the unemployment rate for IT workers, however, which is higher than it’s been since the first quarter of 2012.

Unemployment was even lower in particular tech fields, with network architects (1.7 percent), network and systems administrators (1.8 percent), computer systems analysts (2.3 percent) and software developers (2.4 percent) experiencing the lowest rates. Technology consulting and data processing and hosting continue to be among the fastest growing fields, adding 13,000 and 2,000 positions, respectively, in the third quarter.

Interestingly, turnover among tech professionals hit its highest monthly average since the first quarter of 2007, with 508,500 employees in professional and business services quitting their jobs on average monthly. That’s also significantly higher than the 10-year monthly average of 404,800, Dice found.

That, combined with declines in the number of layoffs in the tech market in the third quarter, shows some signs that confidence is returning to the job market, Dice noted. Layoffs were below average at 368,000 per month in the first two months of the third quarter, compared to 395,700 monthly on average over the past 10 years.

“Above average turnover means more career opportunities for tech professionals,” said Shavran Goli, president of Dice, in the report. “One job change opens up opportunities not only for the tech professional who switched, but another need to fill that position and then another and another. That domino effect can trigger growth for many tech professionals and that typically means increases in pay and satisfaction.”