The news about the IT job market continues to get better.
January 2015 was as strong a month for IT job creation as any in the previous year, with 14,500 jobs added in the field, according to statistics provided by Janco Associates and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The contrast with the beginning of 2014, when a mere 3,400 jobs were created, couldn't be starker. Last year the IT job market didn't really open up until April, but ultimately more jobs were added throughout the economy in 2014 than in any previous year since 1999. The tally for IT jobs added in 2014 -- 112,800 in total -- was nearly twice what it was in 2012, according to Janco's number crunching.
Most of that demand centers around "a real shortage of IT pros with experience in cloud-based applications and mobile computing," said Janco. The company also noted that IT hiring remains on an upward trend, currently at an average of 0.75 percent growth month-over-month.
With the rise in job demand has come a concomitant uptick in salaries. Tech jobs site Dice.com reported that last year's tech pay rose an average of 2 percent over the previous year, mostly through raises and bonuses (in that order), and less so from changing jobs. Janco came to roughly the same conclusion, finding that the biggest winners were middle managers and staff in midsized enterprises, with an average respective pay bump of 3.99 percent and 3.56 percent over the course of the year.
IT workers are typically less unemployed than their nontech counterparts. But even that already-good news got a boost, as unemployment for tech professionals declined significantly last year. Last year's overall unemployment rate was 2.7 percent, down from 3.6 percent. Only 10 percent of those polled in Dice's surveys of employers said layoffs were likely in 2015.
Rosy as the overall picture is, worries still linger that heads may yet roll at some of the big-name tech firms. Last year saw deep cuts -- to the tune of thousands of jobs -- in the employment rolls at Microsoft, Cisco, HP, and others. That, however, seems more a product of the instability and uncertainty of the old-school IT world, where older players are trying to teach themselves new tricks, than anything about the IT job market in general.
One other piece of big-picture good news from the recent numbers is a bump -- if only a small one -- in the overall labor force participation rate, which is now at 62.9 percent. The rate, still the lowest in decades, hovered between 62.5 percent and 63 percent over the course of last year. But it will take far longer than any one month to manifest real signs of an economywide turnaround for those numbers -- and its impact on IT hires, if any.