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Current Unemployment Rate in the IT Industry?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the paper-versus-experience dept.

The Almighty Buck 117

concerned-about-employment asks: "What's the unemployment rate in the IT industry currently? Years ago I heard it was 8-9% but with so many jobs going offshore and the general unemployment rate rising, could it be even higher than before? Has it really broken 10% as some people say? That would mean 1 out of every 10 IT workers is out of a job. Personally though, from the perspective of a recent college graduate, it looks like 20% from here." How does the actual national unemployment rate in IT compare to the number of IT professionals that you know who are currently out of work?

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Don't go into IT!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969377)

Unemployment rate is more like 50%! If you haven't graduated yet, change you major to something useful like Sociology immediately! There are no jobs in the US for people with IT training!

Re:Don't go into IT!!! (1)

crow (16139) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969612)

That depends on what you mean by IT. If you're going for a Computer Science or Computer Engineering degree, there are jobs. If you're going for an Information Technology degree, forget it. The former will get you a job programming. The latter will get you in a line with all the other former support staff.

Make sure you differentiate (2, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969408)

Jobs in IT from tech jobs. There were a large number of non-technical folks who became tech-morass victims. They can find other work far more easily.

Re:Make sure you differentiate (1)

rf600r (236081) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969571)

Zactly. During the dot-bomb days of stupidity, a kid could be flipping burgers one day and have a business card with Senior Systems and Network Engineer on it the next. His unemployment is just Darwinism in the workforce, IMHO.

Oh, I didn't just insult the poster, did I?

Re:Make sure you differentiate (2, Insightful)

!3ren (686818) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970742)

Unfortunately, these are the guys who generally kept their jobs as they recognized early on whose ass they had to kiss.
An important collary to the topic in discussion, would be how many people have left the IT industry simply because it is no longer worth their time.

Make sure you [exaggerate] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7984290)

"Oh, I didn't just insult the poster, did I?"

No, you just engaged in the time-honored tactic of exageration. I bet the actual number of people who were burger flippers turned working tech. guru were quite low, and mostly of an anidotal nature (the basis for urben legends). Everyone likes to pull out the tech bubble, complete with exagerations, and misconceptions, complete with "friend of a friend" evidence. The problem with the job market however go beyound the dot boom by a big margin. So yes please continue to blame everything on the dot boom, because we all know that the world really is that simple, and easily explained. It makes for better "slashbites".

Re:Make sure you differentiate (1)

wizzy403 (303479) | more than 10 years ago | (#7972955)

Yep. The company I was working for went under in October 2003. From what I've heard, everyone who was looking has managed to find a new job by now. So, at least the Boston area is starting to look up a little.

1 in 10? (-1, Troll)

wrenkin (71468) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969478)

"Has it really broken 10% as some people say? That would mean 1 out of every 10 IT workers is out of a job."

Maybe once you fully master percentages, you will find IT employers more receptive.

Re:1 in 10? (1)

agentk (74906) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969740)


wrenkin wrote:

"Has it really broken 10% as some people say? That would mean 1 out of every 10 IT workers is out of a job."
Maybe once you fully master percentages, you will find IT employers more receptive.

Re:1 in 10? (1)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969820)

Um, dude, 1 in 10 is ten percent.

Re:1 in 10? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7970143)

MOD UP! Insightful!

Re:1 in 10? (3, Informative)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970224)

MCSE's don't need to know percentages. There's a little bar that tells you when the job is done when it gets to the end.

College Grads (3, Informative)

saden1 (581102) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969489)

If you just finished school you better have some internship experience. Also, don't demand too much money. I've seen people ask for 60K who just came out of school. For that kind of money one can hire a skilled person with experience nowadays.

Oh and if you procrastinated through out college you are fucked. I have friends who if today came to me for a job I wouldn't hire. It is sad but true.

Re:College Grads (2, Interesting)

mnmn (145599) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970894)

You're right. I wouldnt hire anyone except 2 former students of my class knowing whats available out there and the market situation. This is the only reason I'm happy about the tech bust. Just like theoretical physicists, only the dedicated and interested geeks enter the market, not that joe who couldnt choose a major in the first year and decided to go with CS because it was lucrative and he could format his C drive.

Certs have gained great importance in this industry for a reason. I know many with 3.8+ GPA fresh out of college, but they know only the Java/ADA/Pascal/Microsoft Office/Visio that was taught to them. IT is too fast a moving target for professors to properly tailor courses for the job.

2004 will be better than 2003. In the last two months in 2003, I received two calls from employers, but received none during the 16 months before that. Another interesting thing is the prices of used cisco 2924 switches and 2600 routers have increased by 30% all of a sudden. People are geared up for studying harder and competing, and this attitude will lift the market. The energy in the IT and geek circles in itself will improve things a little... and then both the effects of Sept 11 and Iraq War are over.

I should so get back to advanced BGP routes and leave slashdot worship. Its killing my future the way Everquest almost did.

Just got rehired (4, Interesting)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969494)

After a 7 month period of no job, i can say it is rough out there. The tech companies in my area are VERY picky now about who they hire, and they pay a LOT less. I knew of one big financial firm that wanted a webmaster/developer/Unix SA and were willing to pay 35k for it, and that was the upper max.

Also, be prepared to move to different parts of the country. From what I hear, Silicon Valley isnt so hot any more, but other areas, like Conn. and Raleigh/Durham, NC are much better.

Re:Just got rehired (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7970456)

Posting AC, because I work for a large company.

HR won't pay anything near normal pay, people coming in are 20-30K less, and with that pay, no experienced professional will take the job. So we get people with hardly any experience, and putting them in important roles, is a joke. And of course, I have to train them, little annoyed as it increases my work week by 20 hours.

I'm currently the lead of our group, so I know our entire network, backup solutions, console, processes, parts and repair, everything. We just let the IT go (outsourceing to HP), so we know the company is looking to cut people. They just increased the time it takes to earn vacation, its now 5 years to get 3 weeks, they cut the yearly profit shareing bonus, they made everyone salary, they also excluded telecommuting, and make 40 hours mandatory from mon-fri, weekends you work free.

So, yes, the market sucks, and companies are taking advantage of it.

PS, the divorce rate is also up, go figure.

Re:Just got rehired (1)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970484)

From what I hear, Silicon Valley isnt so hot any more, but other areas, like Conn. and Raleigh/Durham, NC are much better.

Better is, of course, a relative term... but I have to admit, my first reaction at reading that and seeing Raleigh / Durham mentioned was something like:


Seriously, the job market in the Triangle region of NC is still pretty damn weak. This area got flooded with techies when Nortel, Cisco, IBM, C&W, etc. laid of about a bazillion people back in 2001-2002. There have been a few promising signs that hiring is SLLLOOOWWWLLYYYYY starting to pickup again, but definitely do not move to RTP expecting to find techie-job nirvana, cause it ain't here.

Actually, I'd suggest anybody looking at moving to RTP period, forget it. After all, I don't want you here competing with moi for what few jobs there are! :-)

Re:Just got rehired (1)

arkham6 (24514) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970571)

I think a lot of it is 'greener grass' syndrome. Here in NYC, we hear its better elsewere. Out there, they think NYC is the better place to be. Like I said in my first post, be prepared to move, because you just might have to.

Re:Just got rehired (2, Informative)

DevilM (191311) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970648)

Well I live in Atlanta and the grass is really greener here since it is one of the fastest growing tech markets in the country. Most of these tech jobs seem to surround biotech and life sciences.

Re:Just got rehired (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7976659)

my next door neighbor (in Cary) got dropped by Nortel then and still isn't working.

I think he's moving into rental properties for income.

Re:Just got rehired (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970683)

just 7 months? In the 7th month of my unemployment stint I still had well over 3k in my bank account and I was optimistic.

I just wish that I knew more people not in my area, peolple I could move in with til I found a job, in these new 'hot' job markets.

I disagree about RDU (1)

Yonder Way (603108) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971778)

RDU might be better than it was a year or two ago but it is still pretty bad. I had to leave Raleigh/Durham for Philadelphia because of the lousy job market. Keep in mind I'm a more senior level geek with 10 years in the market (10 years working with MS technologies, 7 years with Linux & Solaris).

I remember going to a TriBUG [] meeting where every single person there was laid off. These were senior level UNIX geeks, and not one of them could find work. The other UG I was involved in, TriLUG [] , was doing better probably because of the Linux boom combined with a larger contingent of sysadmins & programmers entrenched in academia where they were a bit safer. Still, enough members of that organization were out of work that some time was set aside at the beginning of every meeting for people to stand up and give a short pitch on who they are and what kind of work they were looking for.

Unless you were a guru sysadmin and programmer and DBA, you had almost no chance of finding work in RDU. And even then you had to be prepared to fight hard, accept entry level pay and still likely face rejection.

The older/larger cities seem to be fairing better than small specialty towns like RDU or Silicon Valley. New York City, Philadelphia, etc. are large and diversified and seem to be weathering the storm better. I'm not as plugged into RDU today as I was a year ago today, but a year ago today it was a wasteland in RDU and only a fool would relocate there without already having a job established.

offshore? huh? not real jobs. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969543)

the lowest level of jobs are moving offshore. not the ones for those with clue.

Re:offshore? huh? not real jobs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7970038)

No kidding. I know nobody with any useful skills who is making less that six figures, let alone unemployed.

Re:offshore? huh? not real jobs. (2, Informative)

KDan (90353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971531)

Not entirely true. Development of enterprise applications is hardly the lowest level of jobs, and that tends to be moving overseas too, though the move is more complex than stuff like helpdesks..


Just remember, the national unemployment rates (1, Interesting)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969547)

dont show all the people out of work, they only show the people still able to collect unemployment. The news is currently reporting figures of 5-6%, the real figures are probably more like 10%. I used to have a link that talked about this, sorry.

Re:Just remember, the national unemployment rates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969704)

If you are stupid enough not to collect your unemployment check then you are stupid enough to be unemployed. There is just no excuse.

You'd better belive I'll be the first person in line at the unemployment office if I lose my job. I see it as an opportunity to get my tax money back.

Re:Just remember, the national unemployment rates (1)

Galaganut (689591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7972002)

Unemployment benefits only last 26 weeks, + an extra 13 weeks if you qualify for the extension. So it is not simply that someone is "stupid" enough not to collect their unemployment, it could have run out. If unemployment benefits were guarranteed for life why would anyone work?? Chuck

Re:Just remember, the national unemployment rates (1)

Bartab (233395) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969747)

Wrong. The unemployment rate is generated by a survey that asks respondants if they are looking for work.

It doesn't count people not looking, and it shouldn't, but it definitely counts people who are not collecting unemployment insurance.

Re:Just remember, the national unemployment rates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7970242)

Wrong. It does use unemployment numbers by people getting unemployment checks only. People who could only find part time, People who are living off savings because they ran out of unemployment, people who moved in with family, there are many people that are no counted in the survey.

And its not a survey, they use numbers from the states.


Re:Just remember, the national unemployment rates (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969778)

Unemployement rates are also verified with household surveys. In many cases such surveys find that people who have been unemployed have actually found employment by starting a small business etc. that doesn't show up in normal employment roles. Usually the household survey rate is fairly close to the number generated from unemployment insurance recipients.

Underemployment? (1)

doug (926) | more than 10 years ago | (#7972577)

The only time I've heard something in the 10% range was an NPR story about underemployment. Specifically it was talking about people with specialized skills like an engineer or airline pilot only finding work at Home Depot. That story put the combined unemployment and underemployment rate at 9.6%.

Is this what you're thinking about when you say 10%?

- doug

Re:Underemployment? (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 10 years ago | (#7974378)

No, he's thinking 'if 'unemployed' is stated as 'is collecting unemployement benefits,' what are you if you're still not working when those benefits run out?'

If out of 100 people, 5 are collecting unemployement benefits, but 5 more have been unemployed for over a year, and have no more benefits to collect, then is your unemployement rate 5 percent, or 10 percent?

Re:Underemployment? (1)

doug (926) | more than 10 years ago | (#7975609)

The unemployment numbers released by the feds are supposed to be everyone who is actively looking for a job. The folks who are getting benefits are easy to count, but the Feds are supposed to do some surveys and monkey around with statistics to get the right value. I am not confident in the number, but those 5 people who have been unemployed for over a year AND ARE STILL ACTIVELY LOOKING FOR A JOB should be counted.

Should folks who want a job, but aren't actively looking because they're waiting for the job market to pick up be considered unemployed or not is a different thing. That's a lot harder to measure because I know people who've stopped working to stay home with the kids, but if the job market paid them insane salaries, they'd go back. They're not looking and more importantly they don't really consider themselves part of the "work force". How do you split hairs like that?

I don't consider actively looking to be a great criteria, but since it is so much more measurable than anything else I can think of, I'm not sure what else we should use.

- doug

Re:Just remember, the national unemployment rates (2, Interesting)

dspyder (563303) | more than 10 years ago | (#7977071)

You are absolutely correct! I heard about it from this article at [] which points to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

They actually maintain 6 different figures, with the one hovering around 5% being the one that gets reported in the media. The actual number of people really unemployment (as I take it to mean not having a job) is up around 9%-10%.

Here's their PDF [] explaining the various levels.


Do it as your hobby (3, Funny)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969548)

Hopefully you majored in something useful like management or accounting so that you don't have to worry about finding a job when you get out. Keep computers and programming as your hobby and let your other work pay the bills.

If you still have some money, think about pursuing a professional degree (JD, MBA, etc.). Demand for these never dips.

There are no jobs in IT out here for you.

Re:Do it as your hobby (4, Insightful)

crazyphilman (609923) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969814)

Funny post! Good one...

I mean, you ARE kidding, right?

Because A whole slew of articles in business magazines have been talking about how the success of outsourcing IT has given Corporate America all sorts of interesting ideas. Like outsourcing "non-core" departments, like HR, Payroll, Accounting, legal research, business forecasting and strategy, almost all of middle management...

You DID know about that, right? Cause if you weren't joking, boy are YOU in for a shock... :)

Re:Do it as your hobby (1)

Methuseus (468642) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970069)

No shit. It seems if you want a job in the US nowadays you need to be a CEO or some shit.

Re:Do it as your hobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7970823)

Hopefully you majored in something useful like management or accounting

So creating things that people would like to buy is not useful? Interesting take on reality you've got there ...

Since these "professions" you mention don't produce anything these are just glorified admin positions. First dip in the economy, and out you go! Not to mention the fact that as work is outsourced, all the admin jobs like these will go along with them.

If you still have some money, think about pursuing a professional degree (JD, MBA, etc.).

You're kidding right? Nope, no MBAs unemployed since the bubble burst and venture capitalists stopped throwing money at them. Nope. None. They're all starting new dotcoms at the same rate as before ... oh wait, you were talking about becoming a anonymous middle management nobody weren't you? Given the rate at which they are hitting the unemployment queue, I'd hardly suggest that as a "safe" route.

There are no jobs in IT out here for you.

You're extrapolating from your own situation. Perhaps it's just you? How long did you expect HTML "coding" to be a viable "career" anyway?

Re:Do it as your hobby (2, Interesting)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971658)

I agree with this, although my case is very different.

I started programming computers professionally when I was 12 years old - it started as a hobby, but fortunately for me in 1982 anyone with any sort of production experience with computers could find work. Lucky for me I was interested in filesystems work back then - that seriously propelled me into the stratosphere as a working programmer.

It hasn't changed - I still code for the fun of it, but it has fed me all these years quite well.

My current job combines all of my hobbies (music, electronics, programming, design, living in a foreign land) and I still get paid. I attribute this situation (ideal) to the fact that I have -always- enjoyed computer science first, and sought to make a living from it second.

I'd be happy hauling bricks 8 hours a day if I knew I could have at least 4 hours hacking time at home, but as it happens I don't need to... There is *PLENTY* of work for those who are serious about computer science, and very little work for dilettantes who only got into it for the money/prestige/security.

I consider that whatever 'slumps' there are in the "IT" industry (man, I hate "IT", what a shit name for this business) to be pretty much the result of a massive influx of dilettantes. It has to be said: the MTV generation are dilettante like no other...

Re:Do it as your hobby (2, Interesting)

chooks (71012) | more than 10 years ago | (#7978013)

If you still have some money, think about pursuing a professional degree (JD, MBA, etc.).

Not so sure about that. I can see things like radiology, where the images may be transmitted digitally, could be outsourced and eventually offshored (NAFTA I believe provides some sort of license transparency, and even if it doesn't, you could possible form a company where the dr.s get licensed in US but operate out of another country)

Even within the US though, companies are probably trying to replace higher cost dr.s with lower cost nurses (or other staff). For example replacing anasthesiologists dr.s with nurse anasthetists.

Lawyers of course probably have job security. I mean, when you make the laws, then just make replacing you illegal or sue them for taking your job :)

Of course this is all speculation. This wouldn't be slashdot if I could actually back any of this up.

Look... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7969566)

Unless you and everybody else in your department and/or company lost your job simultaneously, chances are VERY GOOD that it's because you sucked and were gunned early on because it was relatively less painful to do so then, for instance, to go without free coffee.

If you still aren't working, chances are you should have never been in the field in the first place. There's jobs. They exist. Some of them are specialized. Some of them are stupid.

All of them will go to the person who sucks least before the manager gets fed up of looking at resume's.

If you are too proud to take a pay cut, you should have become a lawyer.

I'm US born and raised, but I spent a year in India, and I'll tell you one thing, if you want to realize how much of a PRIVILEGE it is to get paid lots of money to type, talk, and think, go spend some time in India. If we were faced with the kind of misery and suffering on a daily basis that the Indians are, probably wouldn't be out of a job.


Re:Look... (1)

Descartes (124922) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970294)

If you still aren't working, chances are you should have never been in the field in the first place.

Great advice, dick! Maybe you should consider the fact that some of the most talented people in the industry are wholly untalented at looking for work. I learned this at my current position, there are very people who've been there for years without much of a raise, but they just aren't good at looking for something better.

I think I'm slightly above average for the industry in my looking for work skills, and in my experience far better at the interpersonal skills that HR people respond well to. I do not think that those skills should really make much difference for jobs like software engineering, especially when programmers can work independantly.

I think you take your own privilege too much for granted. There a tons of recent graduates who can't find any job at all in the industry, at which point it's not really about being too proud to take a pay cut. Other than paying the rent, there is little point in taking a job a pizza hut if you want to work in IT. Few companies will even consider resumes, without previous experience in the industry. I'm glad it only took me a month and a half after graduation to find work, but I've had friends who looked for far longer.

My advice to those who've just been laid off or have just graduated, bust your ass looking and don't give up, you'll find something eventually. It's just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

Re:Look... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7971909)

I don't give a shit if the Indians are make them happy means MY family becomes miserable. So, fuck them, it's every man for themselves, and to hell with Bush for letting it happen, we wasn't elected by the people anyway...just his paid off electorial college in a state where is brother just "happens" to be governor.

What needs to happen is what Roosevelt did with the shipping industry when all of the shipping jobs where being outsourced. You didn't see HIM say "oh sure give US jobs to overseas people", no, because he had a backbone and stuck up to protect his know the one's that voted him in office!

Re:Look... (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 10 years ago | (#7977528)

If you still aren't working, chances are you should have never been in the field in the first place. There's jobs. They exist. Some of them are specialized. Some of them are stupid.

So if I was into specialized career A and that has gone to shit, but there are tons of jobs in Specialized career B, I should have realized 10 years ago this was going to happen and picked Career path B?

Re:Look... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7980734)

If we were faced with the kind of misery and suffering on a daily basis that the Indians are, probably wouldn't be out of a job.

Not to be excessivly ignorant here, but India historically has been fucked up on Religion (tm), and people get the government they deserve. If I was faced with that kind of suffering and misery, I would endeavour to change it. Or die trying. That's what happened in North America, or at least, the US.

Some places in the world suck. There are good reasons for it, and most of them involve being fucked up on Jesus (tm), or your diety of choice. Throw in political corruption to taste.


Official US number is 7.2% (4, Informative)

DeepRedux (601768) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969720)

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate [] in the "information" section was 7.2% in December 2002 and 6.5% in December of 2003. The actual number of unemployed was 255K in 12/2002 and 224 in 12/2003.

Re:Official US number is 7.2% (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7970015)

So 13% of the IT workers who had a job in 2002 don't have one now, but the unemployment rate is only 7.2%.

No wonder no one believes the US labor statistics. html []

It makes you wonder what else they are lying about, other than unemployment and what weapons Iraq has. One statistic ripe for obfuscation is the amount of debt the Federal Government is carrying. We could be a lot closer to Argentian style meltdown than we think.

Re:Official US number is 7.2% (0, Flamebait)

perljon (530156) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970428)

How can you use the New York Times as a factual resource? They constantly make stuff up. They might as well be a tabloid.

Re:Official US number is 7.2% (1)

qbproger (467459) | more than 10 years ago | (#7975604)

this doesn't take into account the people that left the field though. So if an information person lost their job, but then start working in a different field they won't be counted as unemployed for the information section. Then there are also people that get too old for work. They also don't count as unemployeed if you stop looking for a job. Basically, that statistic is pretty much worthless. sorry to disappoint you.

Well, in 2002... (3, Informative)

Dr. Bent (533421) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969759)

The SAGE/SANS/BigAdmin survey done for 2002 says that 15.3% of thier respondants were unemployed for at least a week during the year (I don't have a link offhand, but Google might). They won't post the 2003 survey until March, but I would be suprised if 2003 was worse than 2002.

I've gotten calls from two recuiters looking for people in the last week. I think I got a grand total of 0 calls in 2002, and maybe a couple in 2003. I think people are realizing that not everything can be moved offshore and that programmers with domain/business experience are actually worth what you pay them here in the states. Dell, for example, is moving some of thier IT facilities back to the US after outsourcing it to India.

I hate to jinx it, but I think the worst is over. It may not be 1999 again anytime soon, but the storm clouds are clearing.

Re:Well, in 2002... (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970327)

"Generalist" IT dorks are most affected by the current malaise.

I know of several people who specialize in various areas who are getting 7-8 calls from recruiters a week, mostly for 6 month contracts.

If you are a "computer guy" or webmonkey, Apu in Bangalore has rendered you irrelevant. Database, network and "enterprise" software experts will always be in high demand, at least until the Indians get more experience.

Re:Well, in 2002... (1)

sql*kitten (1359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971799)

The SAGE/SANS/BigAdmin survey done for 2002 says that 15.3% of thier respondants were unemployed for at least a week during the year

OK, but that's a fairly meaningless number. I was technically unemployed for a week in 2001, but that was only the gap between leaving one job and starting the next. Unemployed needs to be more tightly defined as "no job at present and no next job in sight". Unemployed for over a month would be a better measure, as it's rarer to go that long between jobs unless something has gone wrong.

Compare? well... (1)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969939)

The difference I see between the people complaining about the lack of work and the people working in the IT industry is USUALLY the people working know what they're talking about, know how to do their job, and work for a moderate amount of cash.

The CCNA/MSCE C+ this A+ that guys I know are working at Office Max waiting on the 6 figure job thats going to set them free.

The real problem (2, Insightful)

DevilM (191311) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969945)

The real problem is that many in the industry simply don't know how to get a job. First, there is the group of people who were working for a company for 10+ years that got laid off. The job market is very different now than it was, so most aren't prepared. Second, people who got into the business during the boom never had to learn any real skills when it came to landing jobs, so now that companies are picky they are losing out.

The way to find a job is through networking. There is simply no better way, so if you are unemployed and not networking you might need to rethink your situation.

The real problem-free advice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7983263)

"The way to find a job is through networking. There is simply no better way, so if you are unemployed and not networking you might need to rethink your situation."

So all I have to do is claim that you're on my roledex. Thanks chief, but your advice only works when you have "working members"* as part of the 'friends and family" package. Else it's just a crowd of unemployed people.

*It works even better when those members aren't part of the frequently "underemployed" crowd.

Re:The real problem (1)

kingk0ng (616038) | more than 10 years ago | (#7984071)

How is this insightful? No matter what the marketing and networking skills of the unemployed, it won't make any new jobs! This sort of thing might let you scramble to the top of the pile but only at the expense of others - it's got nothing to do with the overall employment rate.

It's worse than that... (4, Insightful)

Kevin Burtch (13372) | more than 10 years ago | (#7969957)

I know people who are no longer considered to be in the IT industry as they've had to get jobs stacking boxes at Home Depot, etc.

They aren't counted since they aren't unemployed, even though they ARE unemployed from their profession.
Any IT-specific numbers you find will be wrong for this reason.

I'm not talking a 1st level phone-jockey, I'm talking about talented sysadmins with many years of experience!

Re:It's worse than that... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7970276)

Serious question here. Shouldn't system administration go away as computers get easier to use? Obviously software is not to the point where a CEO can handle setting up a mail server, but it should be at a point where any kid can read the manual and setup a box. Maybe they don't know some obscure flags that can be set to tune performance up an extra 5%, but as long as the system works, it doesn't generally matter much. And if performance becomes an issue down the road, they could probably look into it more and learn those switches.

Re:It's worse than that... (2, Insightful)

perljon (530156) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970460)

It's not that simple. When an application makes a company a million dollars an hour, or looses in fines a million dollars an hour, don't you want someone that knows more than which button to click? Wouldn't you want them to know how the computer works and not just the fiddled once with the GUI that might fix the problem or make it worse? The whole IT world isn't made up of Windows file and print servers which aren't missed when they are unavailable several days per month.

Re:It's worse than that... (1)

HolyCoitus (658601) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970472)

That would be looking at computers as if they will never have a problem, a need for an upgrade, a need for someone to watch after the logs, a need for someone to take care of user land apps... Just to name a few things that someone who doesn't have any experience wouldn't be able to do cost effectively. You don't want someone who is just reading a manual attempting to administer your database or upgrading holes in an operating system. If they screw up, your down time and possible lost data will be a nightmare. Some things will get easier, but someone will always have to do certain parts of the computing process...

Re:It's worse than that... (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970981)

lol, yeah, the local health department has an admin like that.

It's pretty sad really, he has dual lcd's and 5 test stations in his office. A really pretty looking dell and far overpriced rack for the servers. Anytime something goes wrong, bam my cell phone starts ringing. He makes twice what I do and his job is basically calling me to fix anything that goes wrong.

Shouldn't mailrooms never exitst? (2, Interesting)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7973627)

Why does any company have a mailroom? Or a copy shop. I know how to run a copy machine, and I can put a stamp on an envelope. In truth though, there is a lot of work involved in copies and stamps that isn't visiable from the outside.

I've seen presidents drop 50 pages in a document feeder on the copier, if he can handle it why does the company have a copy room? Answer: because the company sometimes publishes manuals more than a copy or two. The president would make 2 copies of that 50 page document, but more than that and he is better off letting someone else do it. The president could in theory learn to bind those copies, but if he wants a nice presentation better letting someone with expirence do it. (I can bind a book, but expirecnced people can do it nicely)

I can put one letter in the mail. When I need to mail one letter it is faster to do it myself. When I need 100 letters it is better to have the mailroom do it.

Re:It's worse than that... (1, Redundant)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970664)

Count me in that situation.

Re:It's worse than that... (1)

Krellan (107440) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971719)

That's absolutely correct!

A lot of people, including myself, are former IT workers who have found other non-IT jobs to make ends meet. Personally, I now have a job that I like, because it's in one of my hobbies (pinball)! It's filling orders for pinball parts. I do this, and various other things, and now get to set my own hours (as long as the work gets done and I hit the post office each day before it closes)!

I thought about my close friends, and realized the numbers break down pretty much into thirds! 30% of people are completely unemployed, 30% of people have held on to their IT job, and 40% of people have moved on to other jobs that are not in the IT industry. So, that's 70% unemployment if you consider non-IT jobs as being "unemployed"....

Re:It's worse than that... (1)

kps (43692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7977113)

Neat. Mail order? Mind me asking who you work for? I'll want to buy more pinball parts sometime... once I find a new job, that is.
(15 years experience in compiler development - will generate code for food.)

Re:It's worse than that... (1)

lga (172042) | more than 10 years ago | (#7972075)

I haven't worked in computers since I got my Degree. I have been selling mobile phones for the last two years since graduation. This is despite having 2 years of work experience in network / system admin with the civil service, a degree in computer science, and a real interest in my subject. The best thing I could have done would have been to work for the local computer company (Evesham Micros) at 18 - they were hiring back then.

Selling phones isn't too bad, but I have to resort to reading slashdot on my palm over GPRS to keep me sane!


College Grads Grab the Spots (4, Insightful)

MissMarvel (723385) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970088)

The high rate of employment in IT has been of concern to me. My neice recently graduated from Gonzaga. I worried she might not be able to find employment in her field (Computer engineering), but she was picked up almost immediately by a defense contracter in southern California. According to her, they interviewed 200 graduates and hired well over 50 of them.

It makes me think companies are opting to fill open positions with younger people whom they can hire at a much lower salary.

Re:College Grads Grab the Spots (2, Insightful)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970642)

Well yeah, companies have been doing THAT for years.

Re:College Grads Grab the Spots (2, Informative)

Mr. Piddle (567882) | more than 10 years ago | (#7975855)

According to her, they interviewed 200 graduates and hired well over 50 of them.

You might not quite understand how defense contracting works. That company either recently got a new contract or think they will get a new contract, so they are hiring bodies to fill up the job descriptions. That contract might last six months or five years (only god and the program managers know), but I'm generally suspicious of any contractor doing a 50-out-of-200 hiring frenzy like that.

Of course, I've become quite jaded about defense contracting, so my point of view is probably no longer objective.

Re:College Grads Grab the Spots (2, Interesting)

PetoskeyGuy (648788) | more than 10 years ago | (#7981634)

There is a company I used to work for that is doing exactly this. They fired/let go/lost to attrition about 1/2 their staff. They are replacing them with overseas programmers or new graduates. The parent company - operated in Canada, with offices in Bahamas for tax reasons - is going to pick up 1/2 the first year of pay for new college graduates making their budget numbers look great.

I was going to apply for a job there, but was told that it's not really open, they just advertise for a minimum number of days before they hire the overseas guy - a technicality. I spoke with the unemployment agency about this and they said they will side with the employer on this every time. If I want I could force an interview, but they will likely just make something up and choose not to hire me. Oh and they were only REALLY planning on paying about half what the add said.

well technically (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970172)

You're not in the industry without a job, so that would be zero percent, Bob.

Add one (1)

silvwolf (103567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970268)

I just graduated in December, and don't have a job. Been spending my days firing off resumes. Only one interview so far, for a job I applied to at the end of October. Had one recruiter call and ask if I was interested in working in a call center, I explained that I didn't spend all this time in college to answer phones. Otherwise, no bites really.

Want to do some sort of network or system admin type work, but it seems everyone wants 3 - 5 years experience -- not much "entry level" stuff out there. Of course, it doesn't help that I live in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana, and most jobs are stating local applicants only. Don't need relocation help, but I think my resume gets tossed right when the HR drone reads my address at the top of my resume.

Re:Add one (1)

perljon (530156) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970483)

but it seems everyone wants 3 - 5 years experience -- not much "entry level" stuff out there.

Maybe if you had some experience, you'd understand the difference between a college graduate and a person with 3-5 years experience.

Re:Add one (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970952)

What kind of call center and how close to the Ohio border was it?

Re:Add one (2, Interesting)

jmlyle (512574) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970960)

>> ask if I was interested in working in a call center...
>> not much "entry level" stuff out there

If you don't have the logical skills to connect these two points, I certainly woulnd't hire you. It's tough right now, take a job.

I had trouble a couple of years ago, the company (where I was a System Engineer) folded, I eventually took a job installing cable modems and TV. Working hard, and showing that I was competent got me a promotion to Trainer within a few weeks. When THAT company folded, it took a few months to get a job at a software company (that wrote DOCSIS software), that I wouldn't have gotten if not for the experience at the cable company. The things I did there paved the way for the cool job I have now, after THAT company folded.

Just start working.

Oh, and I never had any fancy technical degree. Back when I was in school, we got our porn on floppies.

Floppies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7980220)

Back when I was in school, we got our porn on floppies.

I thought porn was for eliminating floppies?

Re:Add one (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971006)

My Advice, bullshit a couple years experience if you are confident you can wing it. Then apply for a job at a tech shop.

Here on slashdot you hear about in house staff and network admins in the sense of people who actually work for the company they admin the network for. That's true in a fortune 500 or a large business, but the large business's call outside expertise in when they need work done, and small businesses don't have inhouse techs at all.

MOST technicians out there are on the payroll of a company that builds and services networks for a ALOT of businesses, not A business. Your 2yr fib will land you a job with one of these and from there you can get a couple years experience.

Your co-workers pretty much expect you to know nothing and may even prefer it so they can train you. Since you'll be learning from experienced technicians on the job, that two years will be equivelent in reality to 4. Just keep the fictious initial job on the resume until you have enough realworld experience you don't need it anymore.

Re:Add one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7974988)

People who lie on resumes make me sick. I hope that you get caught in your lie. FOAD. Really.

Re:Add one (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7975894)

For one thing, I never said anything about ME lying.

For another I never said anything about fibbing about what you know how to do. I advised him to get a job the only way it is possible for him and gain some legitimate experience. Aside from that, I've yet to meet anyone with a legitimate resume.

Whether it's creating a phantom job (easy enough to do, I've known people who created phantom companies and had a girlfriend answer the phone. I had co-workers at Sony who used this trick to get hired).

Or padding time between or in addition to actual work experience to alter unemployed time periods. This I even do, and so does everyone else able to get jobs. NEVER show a period of unemployment on your resume if you want to get a job.

And if they ask for OS experience that is impossible in their listed requirements. And you have the experience which IS possible. Put down what they are asking for.

You don't bs the people your working with, HR it's okay to bullshit, since HR is the very definition of bullshit.

If the requested credentials for a job are ridiculous, it calls for a ridiculous resume (if you are desperate enough to submit your resume to such a job anyway). If the job lists reasonable requirements, you list your real requirements. If you can't competently perform the job function, you don't apply at all.

Re:Add one (1)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 10 years ago | (#7978353)

Then put your address at the bottom, with just your name at the top. At least then they will look at it.

Re:Add one (1)

router (28432) | more than 10 years ago | (#7978527)

When you need money, you work. Jobs are what you make of them, call center or no call center. Many corporations like to start people on the ground floor and bring them up in the organization. Its not the gogo 90's anymore, you have to WORK for a living now. There is a serious disconnect between expectations and reality in current graduates I am afraid.... It got really out of hand in the late 90's when college grads could demand 60k+ and get it. Those times are gone. Most college grads get 25-40k/yr in normal employment markets; maybe less right now since the supply is so high. Its basic economics folks, supply and demand. In a few years when supply gets tight (maybe) salaries will go up or you will change jobs to get more money. Until then, keep your head above water and start climbing the corporate ladder. Or network into a small job. Or get lucky and find a small business who doesn't realize that wages have fallen dramatically in the IT field. Whatever....


Re:Add one (2, Insightful)

theonetruekeebler (60888) | more than 10 years ago | (#7984655)

Congratulations on your degree. You are right to be proud of your accomplishment, but it's an accomplishment you share with tens of millions of others, so stop being so goddamned arrogant. In a competitive field where a college degree is an entry requirement, you are at the bottom rung of the career ladder. Very few companies are going to trust you with anything other than entry level work before giving you the opportunity to undertake some real challenges.

Also, you must reexamine how you are conducting your job search. You should have started your job hunt at least half a year before graduation. In the meantime, you are complaining bitterly after only a month of searching. You are ignoring possibilities outside your narrow criteria. You are job hunting with your ego rather than with a realistic view of how marketable your skills and background actually are. You are "firing off resumes" instead of searching for a job. Get a copy of What Color Is Your Parachute, read it, and apply its suggestions. Finally, quit acting like your shit don't stink, because plenty prospective employers could wipe their asses with your diploma for what it's worth to them without at least some real industry experience to back it up.

Re:Add one (1)

raind (174356) | more than 10 years ago | (#7984915)

Good luck finding a sysadmin position, I've supported thousands of users in a large medical center, servers running critical applications, but I had to work my way from from a field tech position(actually it's the best way to learn)
lost my job due to a bad decision and politics and outsourcing. Haven't been steadily employed since 02. You might want to take anything to get your foot in the door....

Real-world stats. (2, Funny)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7970819)

Well, if you look at my real-world situation it is this:

Friend 1: Employed
Friend 2: Lost Tech Job
Myself 1: Lost Tech Job

Whoa! That's a 66% unemployment rate! Yep. It's pretty bad out there...

Re:Real-world stats. (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7973766)

> Myself 1: Lost Tech Job

Is there a Myself 2?

Network network network (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7975166)

If you only have 2 IT friends in your network (social, not computer), then maybe that's the reason you haven't found a job. It helps to have a lot of friends that can drop your name when their employers need someone.

Re:Network network network (-1)

longhairedgnome (610579) | more than 10 years ago | (#7982558)

right, you need to "network" more

Re:Real-world stats. (1)

Jason Pollock (45537) | more than 10 years ago | (#7979191)

Bill? That you? Just checking so that we don't end up counting John twice. Wouldn't want to skew the results. :)

6 degrees of unemployment (1)

emptybody (12341) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971243)

4 guys worked for me in 2002
1 was layed off in May 2002. spent about 5 months searching before hire.
1 was layed off in Jan 2003. He is still unemployed after 12 months of heavy searching.
1 was layed off in Apr 2003. spent 7 months finding a position before hire.
1 was layed off in Sep 2003. No leads, still searching.
I was layed off in Oct 2003. 8 interviews. still searching.

I would prefer multiple part-time, off-site sysadmin gigs. I have performed remote administration for the past 10 years. It would save a company money to pay me to work remote most days and come in bi-weekly if required.

Hmmm... (1)

Unleashd (664454) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971456)

I'm not too sure about nationally or even locally but I know that personally my unemployment rate is running at %100. Thanks for the painful reminder! :P

Employism vs. Entrepreneurism (1)

korpiq (8532) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971522)

No, I'm not unemployed! I'm not just one of those hordes of people thrown out of the common boat by the waves of fate, while others have to pay for my life-support costs.

I am self-employed, an Entrepreneur, a captain of my own fate, hungrily looking for opportunities, just temporarily loaning some more investment from my family, monthly.

Haha only serious.

Job market has been dire in the UK too... (1)

prufrax (521403) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971550)

I was unemployed for the first six months of 2003.
Around the time that the war in Iraq started, the job market dried up _completely_. Agencies were blatantly inventing vague pseudo-vacancies just to have something to advertise. I knew it was really really _really_ bad when at one point I saw a job advertisement asking for an "experienced software engineer" to "valet monitors and keyboards for a couple of hours a week."
Things did eventually start to pick up again, but I have friends in the industry who are still out of work, and others who have the threat of redundancy hanging over them.

10% might be a bit low for IT (1)

NemoX (630771) | more than 10 years ago | (#7971863)

My software company closed their doors the other month, putting 35 poeople out of work, including 12 programmers 1 sys admin and 3 graphics guys. It's been about 7 weeks now, and no one has found work yet. I am searching 4 different states (the one's where i have family/local addresses) with over 45 applications put out. 3 years programming (.NET and Java) and 3 years systems admin (UNIX/NT) and still NOTHING...not even a call or an interview (except for recruiters, which don't count...offering a mere 3 month contract job at 1/2 my old salary...but even then I hear nothing back). I have a Bachelors in Political Science (I know, doesn't count for much) but also and extra 30+ semester hours in Computer Science/Mathematics (Combined, putting me at about 3 years into a CS degree,too).

What is the trick? I am so fustrated. I have tried both project detailed 2 page resumes and 1pg job specific resumes. Neither work. I am really bummed out at this point. Any pointers?

I would like to pose this question, too: If one takes a contract job, when the contract is up, are you eligable for unemployment again?

Re:10% might be a bit low for IT (1)

datababe72 (244918) | more than 10 years ago | (#7976067)

The trick is networking. Several other posts have said the same thing.

Ever single job I've ever gotten, I've gotten through networking. Seriously. Even the first one when I was fresh out of school.

The problem is most geeks aren't good at networking. Networking is NOT calling up the people you know and asking them for a job. Here is how I do it when I'm really serious about it (i.e., want to find a new job NOW):

1. Spend some time and come up with a good 30 sec. explanation of what sort of job I want.

2. Contact people I know and say that I'm looking for XYZ type of job, and am wondering if they have any advice, or know of other people that might have advice. If they know of a job that you'd fit, they'll tell you now. Otherwise, the fact that you didn't make them feel uncomfortable by asking for a job will make them feel more comfortable referring you to their friends and colleagues.

The not asking for a job part is really, really important. I've been on the receiving end of these phone calls/e-mails, and I respond better when asked for advice and contacts than when asked for a job, too.

Also, I think e-mails are fine to use for an initial contact, particularly in tech fields. Just use the spell-checker.

3. Repeat, with the new list of contacts from step 2.

Of course, I have a good list of initial contacts because I go to industry group meetings and keep in touch with ex-colleagues. If you're starting from scratch, it will probably take more cycles before you get anywhere useful.

Last time I was laid off, I got sent to an outplacement service that taught these skills, as well as interviewing and resume-writing skills. At the time, I was already in discussions with the company that became my new employer, and I *still* found the class useful. I've been told that many county unemployment offices offer similar classes. I recommend them. Hey, you're unemployed: you've got the times!

Unemployment in US is very bad just remember (2, Informative)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 10 years ago | (#7973626)

Remember that in the US if you are unemployed for more than 2 years you are not unemployeed anymore, you are counted as "not in the work force." IT unemployment in MN as far as I can gather is around 30%. I was at a recent meeting for Minneapolis Study the statistics and you'll find that, if you are unemployeed for more that 2 years you magically disappear from the unemployment statistics. Keep this in mind when looking at any statistics about unemployment. MY Grandmother pointed out that in her town during the depression there was 0% unemployment according to US statistics, that because the entire population was either working or had been unemployeed for more that 2 years...

Looking up a little. (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7973689)

Just lost my job this week, and I've already had two serious responses. Unfortunatly both were in California. (I'm not a fan of the politics that rule in CA, I happen to like winter, and my family isn't there. I'd live there though if it paid the bills) Still last time I lost my job it was a few recruiters here and there looking at me, now it feels more serious. So things are still hard, but at least there is some movement towards hiring. I just hope I don't fall for a pay raise that after higher cost of living turns out to be a cut just because I don't know what I'm worth in CA.

Unbfortunatly I know a lot of people who are still out of work after a couple years.

Don't count out underemployment (1)

dspyder (563303) | more than 10 years ago | (#7977002)

Where I currently work (IT shop for a network of hospitals), we have dozens (most of the new hires in the last 2 years I've been here) of people who basically took their job just to have a job. VPs who are now Business Analysts, Technical Service Managers now Level 2 Project Managers (basically project plans and meeting minutes), DBAs now data-entry technicians, trained technical L2 Help Desk people working normal call center jobs, Level 3 support geeks working the repair counter at Best Buy, etc. etc.

Some will say that it's because the dot-com boom put those people into high positions they didn't deserve, but these are very smart very qualified people with years of experience that is being completely unused in their current jobs.

As soon as the economy picks up, most of us will be leaving. That means that even if you think there's jobs available, the pool applying for them is those unemployed plus a large portion of people who want an appropriate-level job back. That may leave openings at their current positions, but a lot might not be backfilled.

So even if unemployment is only 10%, I think a better measure is how likely is it for those 10% to be able to find a decent job that fits their skill or experience level? I would say not very good at all unfortunately... and that's my measure of this so-called economic recovery.


shure! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7981475)

Shure guys, go to space, this will help our industry... uhm, did i mention i'm from Europe? *running*

Unemployment rate versus layoffs, new hires (1)

silverbax (452214) | more than 10 years ago | (#7984551)

The unemployment rate is probably not the best indicator of what the job market really looks like.

If you pick up the newspaper and read that there's only 6% unemployment, knowing that anything under 5% is considered inconsequential, you might wonder why jobs seem so scarce.

But if you look at the layoff numbers, those are currently double what they were in 1999. Then you look at new job creation. In 1999, when the economy was full steam, new jobs were being created at around 200,000 plus per month, often exceeding 250,000. It's closer to 42,000 new jobs per month today.

Now add in the fact that it takes 150,000 new jobs per month just to keep up with new workers entering the workforce.

Even if IT unemployment was listed at 10%, you would need to review the IT layoff numbers and new job creation to create an accurate IT picture.

If the US as a whole is losing 100,000+ jobs per month, and it's worse in IT ( or manufacturing ), then you can see that even the unemployment number may not show the seriousness of the specific job market.
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