IT Workers in Hot Demand

Unemployment rates are about half the national average and turnover remains high.

There’s more good news on the jobs front for IT professionals -- the unemployment rate in their field is about half of the national average and is a slight improvement over where it was one year ago, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Tech Employment Snapshot by found that the unemployment rate for tech professionals averaged 4.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012, an improvement from 4.7 percent in the same quarter one year ago.

Unemployment rates were even lower for certain types of IT professionals, like network architects (0.5 percent), database administrators (0.8 percent), computer and information systems managers (2.4 percent) and computer systems analysts (2.7 percent). Unemployment rates were higher in other IT fields, however, like network and systems administration (5.7 percent) and computer support (6.3 percent), Dice found.

The growth in tech jobs over the past year has been in large part a result of the increase in technology consulting, with more organizations using flexible talent. More than 20,000 tech consulting positions were added in the first quarter of this year, on top of the 70,000 positions that were created in 2011, Dice found.

Meanwhile, turnover is still a challenge for organizations, with 367,000 employees in professional and business services walking away from their positions in the first quarter of 2012.

Increasing salaries is the top reason tech professionals say they would stay in their current position, but that alone may not keep them in their jobs. Tech professionals also say more interesting or challenging assignments would keep them in their current position, followed by a promotion or new title, Dice found.

“The one mismatch between what tech professionals want and what employers are willing to give is flexibility,” the report states. “Whether in work hours or telecommuting, tech professionals say they would think twice about leaving those benefits behind and employers should make it a retention tool.”