Tech & Work

Study finds IT worker confidence slipping

Survey shows workers less optimistic about job market, with fewer saying personal finances are getting better.

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By Ed Frauenheim CNET News.com

Technology sector workers in the United States are feeling less bullish about the job market, according to a new study.

Staffing firm Hudson said on Wednesday that its index of information technology workers' confidence in the job market slid in September, after having risen from May to August. Among other findings, Hudson's report discovered a dip in the portion of IT workers who see their personal finances improving. In August, 51 percent of IT workers said their personal finances were "getting better these days." That figure fell to 42.5 percent in September.

Confidence in the job market among U.S. workers overall also dropped in September, according to Hudson. IT worker optimism remained higher than that for workers generally.

The report comes amid conflicting signs about the job situation for technology professionals, who have been struggling to recover from major job cuts in recent years and who also face the threat of offshore outsourcing.

Technology services companies say they're hiring, and unemployment rates have dropped for tech workers. But so have the numbers of people employed in technology occupations—suggesting that some workers may be leaving the field, possibly because they're discouraged. In addition, a recent report from the Information Technology Association of America trade group found that hiring managers have less ambitious plans for filling IT posts this year compared with last year.

Hudson said Wednesday that its "employment index" for the IT sector fell to 112.1 in September from 115.9 in August. The overall index dropped to 106.9 in September from 108.9 in August.

The employment index, calculated from survey questions that cover work and personal finance issues, is designed to measure U.S. workers' confidence in the employment market. It examines sectors such as IT, health care and manufacturing and is based on surveys of about 9,000 U.S. workers. Hudson began the index less than a year ago, assigning a base number of 100 for its December 2003 survey.

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