Red-hot IT jobs: Who's getting hired in 2014 released its Tech Trends Q1 report for 2014 and while the numbers are excellent across IT as a whole, they’re especially lucrative for tech consultants

It’s a hat trick for tech consultants, says Dice President Shravan Goli: more jobs, more wages, and more hours. released its Tech Trends Q1 report for 2014, and while the numbers are excellent across IT as a whole, they’re especially lucrative for tech consultants. The good news just keeps on coming for the for-hire set, which saw a 4 percent pay increase last year, outdistancing the 3 percent average seen by the overall tech industry, according to the 2014 Dice Salary Survey.

Dice/Bureau of Labor Statistics

Hourly rate hits all-time high

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly salary for tech consultants reached $42.17 in February 2014, an all-time high. By comparison, the 2006 average hourly rate was $36-$37. Dice attributes the jump “in large part to growth in technology segments, such as mobility and the cloud."

Dice/Bureau of Labor Statistics

Hours worked hit record high

There are thousands of open jobs in IT, which means organizations are turning to consultants to fill gaps or skill-set shortcomings until permanent hires can be made. This translates into consultants working nearly full-time hours: an average of 38.8 per week in February. Notes Dice’s Nick Kolakowski: “And given how that’s an average, it’s certain that many consultants are working far longer in order to keep their clients happy.”

Consultant demand expected to increase

Surveys suggest consultant spending will continue to rise, especially in verticals such as:

Finance: New regulatory requirements and the popularity of online banking will drive demand.

Retail: The desire for more online offerings and “omnichannel” undertakings (seamless experience between brick-and-mortar and online) will spur more consultant hours.

Pharmaceuticals: A whopping 60 percent of pharma decision-makers say they plan to increase their consultant budget, but due to the sector’s small size, “the actual number of opportunities will be modest.”

New consultant jobs skyrocket

The first quarter saw 17,200 new jobs, bringing the tech consulting workforce to more than 1.7 million.

“A survey of those responsible for hiring consultants, conducted by Source Information Services, found nearly all plan technology improvements this year, and most will use consultants to help,” notes Dice’s Mark Feffer. “Half will spend more on technology consultants than they did during 2013 and of those, half plan an increase of more than 10 percent.”


Tech unemployment drops to recovery low

Overall tech unemployment dropped to 2.7 percent in Q1 2014, a recovery low and a full 4 percent below the quarterly national unemployment rate.

Here’s how the 2.7 percent rate compares to 2013:

Q1: 3.5 percent
Q2: 3.6 percent
Q3: 3.9 percent
Q4: 3.5 percent

Q1’s 2.7 percent is still higher than the all-time low of 1.8 percent in Q2 2007.

Tech unemployment rate by job

Tech Trends broke down unemployment by position, unsurprisingly finding Web developers as the most-employed with a miniscule jobless rate.

0.7 percent: Web developers:
0.8 percent: Computer systems analysts
0.8 percent: Network architects
2.3 percent: Computer support specialists
2.6 percent: Programmers
2.7 percent: Database administrators
2.8 percent: Software developers
3.0 percent: Computer and information systems managers
3.2 percent: Network and systems administrators

Most tech jobs gained and lost

Computer systems design pros in the Professional and Business Services sector saw the biggest gain in jobs for Q1, adding 17,200 from Q4 2013.

The news was not as good for those in computer and electronic products manufacturing, which lost 2,900 jobs since Q4. Data processing and hosting jobs also took a hit, losing the second-most: 1,600 since Q4.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.