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Survey: US tech wages fall in third quarter

Survey: US tech wages fall in third quarter

Wages fall as more people look for jobs, says recruiter

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Wages for US tech jobs fell significantly in the third quarter compared to the same period last year, the IT staffing company Yoh Services said Thursday.

Early in the third quarter, average wages actually went up by 1.86 percent compared to 2007, but ended up dropping 6.21 percent below 2007 levels as the quarter ended, Yoh said.

The Philadelphia company's Index of Technology Wages is released quarterly and covers the aviation, engineering, IT, manufacturing, scientific, telecom and utility sectors.

Yoh arrives at its numbers by taking a sample of the temporary tech labour pool at about 1,000 companies in those areas. The company cautions that while its index "covers a broad number of companies, it is not intended to be an exhaustive survey of employment activity."

Yoh expects softness in wages to continue through the end of the year, but the situation may stabilize in early 2009, according to a statement.

Wages in the telecom, health care and aviation sectors remained steady in the third quarter, while other areas suffered, Yoh said.

Hot tech job titles in the third quarter included Java developer, Oracle database administrator, .NET developer, SAP consultant and firmware/embedded engineer.

The drop in tech wages isn't due to employers demanding lower rates from IT staffing companies, at least from Yoh's perspective, said J.O. Johnson, vice president of operations.

"We provide the talent at a market-competitive rate for the talent [customers] need. What we see is that sort of number takes care of itself to a large degree," he said.

Tech wages are likely falling because more people are hunting for jobs. Several high-tech companies have announced plans for layoffs recently. Hewlett-Packard, which recently purchased the massive systems integrator EDS, recently announced that it would cut more than 24,000 positions over the next few years as part of a restructuring.

However, while tech jobs are suffering, the situation is not as severe as it could be, since companies have been more judicious about hiring than they were in the run-up to past recessions, Johnson said.

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