Surveys contradict on how recession could hit IT workers

Newly published reports have presented different pictures of how a recession might affect IT departments, with two stating IT shops were suffering and another saying IT decision makers felt confident.

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Newly published reports have presented different pictures of how a recession might affect IT departments, with two stating IT shops were suffering and another saying IT decision makers felt confident.

In one report, recruitment consultants saw a dramatic drop in the demand growth rate for IT staff, with fears of stagnancy setting in. Acording to diffusion indices, where a reading above 50 points means stronger demand than last year and a reading below 50 indicates weaker demand, only 51 was scored in IT in March, indicating near stagnancy.

This compared to a score of 63 a year earlier, according to research firm NTC Economics’ ‘Report on Jobs’ on behalf of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and accountants KPMG. The demand for temporary staff was slightly higher at 55.

These scores compared to top scoring sector engineering and construction, which saw a score of 60, but also fell on the previous year.

Alan Nolan, director at KPMG, said: “The banking crisis is clearly taking its toll as the financial sector as well as IT and computing are among the sectors where demand for both permanent and temporary staff is weakest.”

Meanwhile, a survey by recruitment firm Monster said new employment in IT had fallen by 8 percent from February to March. But it said employment activity in the sector remained higher than it had been for much of the last year.

A survey by researchers 2Europe on behalf of storage integrator B2Net painted a more optimistic picture for the long term, at least for senior IT staff. After interviewing IT decision makers in mid-sized and large enterprises, it found that 76 percent felt they could weather an economic downturn

It found that only 2 percent had taken steps to cut operating expenditure, in spite of warnings that IT departments needed to take action in the face of a downturn. A massive 78 percent of IT decision makers were unable to identify areas they could make cuts. A low 8 percent admitted cost savings could be made in data storage and 7 percent in security or the datacentre.

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