Forrester sees an overall strong recovery next year, with 7.7 percent growth, and it's going to be led by IT consulting services, which it expects will increase by 11.4 percent. Consultants can be, for instance, a laid-off Microsoft Cop. employee who is working independently or an offshore contractor hired through a consulting firm. Outsourcing itself will grow about 4.5 percent. Software spending will rise 9.3 percent, Forrester said.
Peter Bendor-Samuel, CEO of Everest Group, an outsourcing research group, sees "some bounce" for IT services coming out of the recession because companies won't want to "grow back" the cost structure they had before the recession hit.
"You tend to look for cheaper and more flexible models, particularly offshore," he said.
But Bendor-Samuel also sees a far more mature offshore market with slower growth that won't see the same increases as years past.
Forrester isn't predicting the effect on hiring, but the recession has delivered a pool of available workers. The industry group TechServe Alliance, in Alexandria, Va., which analyzes U.S government IT occupation data that includes software engineering, programming and systems analysts jobs, found in June that IT employment was at 3.8 million, for a year-over-year decline of about 5 percent.
Fred Maidment, a management professor at the Ancell School of Business at Western Connecticut State University who has studied outsourcing's impact on workers, said that when companies start adding jobs again, many of those jobs may be created in other countries.
The downturn in 2001 to 2003 was the first time the U.S. felt the impact of the shift overseas in highly skilled, well-educated workers jobs and that shift is continuing. "This is going to be even more of a jobless recovery," Maidment said.