Image: RossHelen, Getty Images/iStockphoto

While the tech industry may have fared fine at the beginning of the pandemic, the same can’t be said as COVID-19 progresses, an Indeed report found. The research, released on Thursday, determined that as of July 24, 2020, tech job postings are doing worse than overall postings in half of tech hubs and 89% of non-tech hubs.

SEE: IT job and salary guide: Highest tech salaries, top-paying cities, and compensation-boosting tips (TechRepublic Premium)

The economy was initially hit hard by the pandemic, with millions of Americans filing for unemployment as industries including retail, hospitality, transportation, and more endured layoffs and furloughs.

However, the tech sector prevailed, at the beginning, since many tech organizations had the infrastructure to quickly shift remote, and many organizations used the services of techies to make that transition themselves.

As the pandemic pushes on, though, tech postings are finally suffering, performing worse than the overall job market. Tech postings began falling behind in mid-May, but that gap has grown steadily since, the report found.

“At the start of the pandemic, tech job postings were doing better than overall job postings, likely because much of tech already had remote policies in place prior to the pandemic. But since mid-May, that trend has reversed,” said Indeed economist AnnElizabeth Konkel.

On July 24, the overall job postings trend was 21% below its 2019 level, but tech jobs settled at 36% below the previous year’s level, and remained there for weeks with no signs of redemption.

This inability to recover could be for a number of reasons, but most likely due to the high cost of hiring and firing, according to the report.

“Moving into summer, the trend in overall job postings has been recovering but tech jobs have flatlined. Much of the recovery is from shops and restaurants reopening,” Konkel said.

“For example, a restaurant bases demand for workers on the last few weeks of business. But in tech, hiring plans are based on much longer-term business forecasts,” Konkel said. “With coronavirus continuing to unleash economic uncertainty, sectors like tech aren’t rushing to resume hiring at pre-COVID levels.”

How specific tech jobs fared

Not all tech positions have suffered to the same extent: Through July 24, IT operations and help desk job postings were down 32% and system engineering jobs 31% compared with last year, which are both better than overall tech jobs.

Software development jobs appeared to be in sync with overall tech job postings, at 35% below the 2019 rates. But data scientist and IT management position trends have taken a sharp downward turn, at 43% and 45% below 2019’s trends, the report found.

The outlook of tech jobs in tech hubs

Indeed identified eight tech hubs in the US and determined the change rates for all job postings and tech postings as of July 24.

Image: Indeed

Through that date, the overall job postings trend in all eight hubs was down more than the 21% decline in overall postings nationally. Additionally, in half of the hubs, tech postings are recovering slower than overall postings, according to the report.

The widest gap appeared to be in Raleigh, NC, where the overall postings trend was down 26% from 2019 and tech job postings were down by 45%.

Outside of hubs, the disparity of tech job postings was even more apparent. An example shown in the report looked at data science job postings in tech hubs and found they were trending 37% below a year ago. In non-hubs, data science postings were off by 51%, the report found.

“Prior to coronavirus, non-tech hubs were making gains, but the virus has reversed that,” Konkel said. “Tech hubs often have more established firms, which are more likely to have the resources to ride out this crisis. If the virus continues to rage unchecked, the trend of tech jobs clustering in tech hubs is likely to continue.”

Image: Indeed

Interest in tech jobs

While tech postings themselves have declined, job seeker interest has actually increased. In February, tech job postings had 68% of the clicks of an average posting. By the end of July, tech postings attracted 95% of the clicks of the average job. More clicks per post means more interest, the report found.

Image: Indeed

“Remote work is at the top of jobseekers’ minds right now. Job seekers know that tech has been able to transition to remote work relatively easily due to low face-to-face interaction,” Konkel said.

“So now the competition is on for tech jobs,” Konkel said. “Case in point, the share of searches surged for Twitter and Facebook on the days of their respective announcements about permanent work from home options. Job seekers want to ensure their health and safety during this crisis so remote work is highly appealing.”

On the days of those announcements by Facebook and Twitter, the share of searches per million for both companies skyrocketed, displaying how interested prospective employees might be.

While the tech sector has a long road ahead and the economic damage of the virus has been a rollercoaster, tech job postings are currently suffering. Competition for available jobs is heating up, which means that candidates need to make sure their skills are sharp and their resumes are ready.

“I would encourage job seekers to virtually network, keep their resume up to date and prep for virtual interviews just as they would an in-person interview,” Konkel said. “While there may be fewer, there are still opportunities out there so continue to apply, while being aware that it’ll likely take longer than in the pre-COVID era to get the job they are looking for.”

For more, check out How COVID-19 impacted job postings across US states and employers on TechRepublic.

Also see