Tech job seekers holding out for higher pay, better positions

As tech hiring continues to rise, job candidates are getting choosier and demanding better salaries, according to Dice

Tech hiring has perked up over the last several months, but those scouted for tech positions are demanding better pay and being pickier about the positions they're asked to fill.

So says Dice's June 2014 hiring survey, which surveyed 737 recruiters, staffers, and HR managers across the United States to put together a picture of how tech hiring trends and IT job positions will change over the next six months.

Right off the bat, it's clear hiring is still on an upswing, a fair turnaround from the gloom that pervaded the industry late last year. Seventy percent of those surveyed said they planned to hire more technology professionals in the next six months than they did in the first half of the year. The degree of the increase is modest, though: Of that 70 percent, 54 percent phrased their hiring goals as "slightly more" tech hiring, and only 16 percent said they would be hiring "substantially more."

In fact, the new problem may be attracting talent that actually says yes, since more potential hires are holding out for better positions. Nearly a third -- 32 percent -- said more tech candidates are turning down offers, mainly because of pay, and 61 percent of those polled said that candidates are asking for more money compared to the beginning of the year. Consequently, 59 percent of the new-hire positions are going unfilled because of salary guidelines -- that is, they don't pay enough.

Some of the findings may be a reflection of what sort of hiring is taking place, since only 20 percent of the new positions described by those polled are entry level. Most hires are coming in at experience levels where higher salaries are part of the territory: 59 percent of respondents reported hiring for candidates with 2 to 5 years of experience, 71 percent in the 6-to-10-year range, and 37 percent hired for a position for people with 10-plus years of experience.

Increased job stability is a new trend as well, as shown by two signs. One-third of respondents said that tech professionals were leaving their current positions, down from 42 percent in 2013, and 79 percent said that layoffs were "unlikely" over the next six months -- a number Dice claims is the highest it's recorded for such a question since it began the survey in 2008.

Exactly which positions are being filled is tougher to tease out, no thanks to the vagueness of the categories provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to Foote Partners, LLC, in its own analysis of the IT job market over the past two years, the two job categories that have been responsible for 95 percent of new IT hires are Computer Systems Design/Related Services and Management and Technical Consulting Services. Both categories comfortably contain most of the in-demand skills for both entry-level and upper-tier tech positions.

This story, "Tech job seekers holding out for higher pay, better positions," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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