What is the current state of the US job market? It’s a common question and a topic for much heated debate. While the nation braces for the effects of the latter half of the fiscal cliff, pending tax increases, and the looming debt ceiling issue, employment uncertainty is unfortunately a consistent cause for concern. Recent financial reports show that housing, manufacturing and the auto markets are starting to pick up, providing a glimmer of hope in a market that’s been otherwise dismal. With so much attention on national tax, job, and financial issues, what is the effect on the IT job seeker? What’s the current state of the IT market for the IT candidate?
According to a recent Plunkett Research estimate, global consulting industry revenues, including HR, IT, strategy, operations management and business advisory services, totaled about $391 billion in 2012 from $366 billion in 2011. While this does not represent significant or booming growth year over year, it does suggest IT consulting has a sustainable competitive advantage over other industries – as a subsector, it is able to steadily grow in a stagnant job market. IT consulting is a complex business sector that has evolved and flourished within the volatilities of today’s job market.
Opportunities for the IT candidate can be found in the following areas:
- Healthcare. Due in part to financial, tax, and healthcare reform questions created by the President, IT staffing firms that focus on healthcare-related IT services are well positioned. Sustainable growth in healthcare expenditures in conjunction with coverage changes have combined to create significant demand for IT consulting.
- Insurance. The consumer is fast becoming central to the insurance industry, not only as the consumer, but also as the agent and adjuster. Companies such as Geico and Progressive have developed their own apps that enable the policy owner to virtually ‘adjust’ his or her own auto claim. By uploading photos via a smartphone and essentially managing their own claims to closure, the policy holder has partnered with the insurance industry to create a niche market for insurance-specific, mobile application developers.
- Mobility. While the insurance industry is creating a niche for qualified developers, mobility as a whole will dominate in 2013. Apps of all kinds are in demand, and the IT candidate with expertise in designing, developing and supporting mobile applications will be highly sought after.
- Financial and Debt Restructuring. For the highly specialized IT candidate with expertise in financial markets and debt management, significant opportunity exists. In particular, given the recent struggles of the automotive industry, those candidates with a focus on manufacturing or supply chain management can find a sustainable flow of challenging opportunities.
- Green Technology. “Green” technology is on the forefront of many organizations as a robust focus on environmental preservation has taken hold. Consultants with environmental specialties, such as energy efficiency and carbon emissions management, will be in high demand. According to projections from Pike research, the global market for carbon management and related IT services is expected to grow by more than 40 percent annually to more than $4.3 billion in 2017, creating a significant and sustainable niche within the IT market.
For the IT candidate, today’s market presents a wide breadth of opportunity for those with depth in the right industry sub-sectors. Even within the challenges presented by constant market volatility, a focused IT candidate continues to be a valued and highly employable commodity.