Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Further examing the IT unemployment rate

Is it possible to have between 40-80% above average unemployment amongst other professional occupations and still have a shortage of workers in the IT workforce? With the exception of very unique skills found in a handfull of individuals, I can't see how one can make that argument considering the growing evidence against it.

In the coming blogs I am going to examine the groups of individuals impacted the greatest by the high unemployment. Two categories of people most impacted include both entry level and senior level IT professionals. College students find it difficult to gain entry level jobs given that they must now compete with a new global workforce. This fact is manifested in the severe drop in admissions to Computer Science programs seen in universities across America. A group harder to track are the more experienced workers - a concern of mine is a lack of data available to pinpoint the pain experienced by this demographic.

First, I would like to present the unemployment rate in another way. If we do a comparison of IT unemployment rate expressed as a percentage above an average across all professions, it is clear that the only shortage here is in jobs for Americans. This data is at a macro level, meaning it is from surveys done nationwide. Some regions may experience even higher unemployment that what we are showing here.

In short, we have Americans that want jobs but can't find them. That can be seen when you look at discouraged workers, and especially amongst skilled IT workers.

Please analyze this chart closely. You will see that it has been a turbulent 5 years for American IT workers. The percent is difficult to read - it starts at +140 and ends at -80. The year begins in January 2000 and ends in December 2005.

Average Unemployment Rate 2000-2005
(Expressed as a Percent Above Average of All Professions)

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