IT jobs safer than most

by Editor 4/17/2008 9:05:00 PM

IT jobs will pull through the credit crunch crisis, experts say, even though the aftermath of the recession will see around 11,000 workers lose their jobs this year, according to a research conducted by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR).

CEBR management economist Dominic Walley says: “We are expecting IT to be one of the stronger sectors over the next couple of years. Mergers and acquisitions activity has stopped, but companies' balance sheets are looking quite healthy at the moment."

IT staff in the finance sector will be safer than most, mainly because IT departments in banks have had a shortage of skilled IT employees for some time now.

Paul Pullinger, Head of Sales at Capgemini, says: “IT jobs are more resilient but spending on IT is generally split into two – operations and ‘discretionary spend’ on new projects and although it might be expected that new-project spending will fall, anyone with specialist IT skills in compliance and risk management [will] continue to be in high demand."

Towergroup analyst Ralph Silva believes that IT jobs in operations and maintenance are the least likely to suffer since banks are quite dependent on them. He also says:

"Other areas of the banking industry got a little bit heavy when times were good. They hired too many people. In IT, this did not happen - there were not enough people."

The situation is similar with investment banks. Stock exchange Plus Markets CTO Brian Taylor says: “I do not think IT jobs are disappearing because IT actually saves money and provides the next generation of services and products."

Peter Redshaw, research director at Gartner, warns that IT workers still have reason to worry as many companies may decide to outsource or offshore tech jobs in order to cut costs.

He does, however, believe that innovation is an excellent way to stand out in information technology and warns that there may be long term consequences for businesses that do not invest in it now:

"Customers move banks more often than they used to, and banks need to differentiate themselves and innovate. IT is one way for them to do this."

"We expect that the good times will return at some point. If you have not invested in the infrastructure, you cannot then scale up to take advantage of this. Under-investing can be damaging."

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