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Tue, May 06, 2003 - Page 12 News List

Outlook gloomy for high-tech job hunters

AP , NEW YORK

Technology job hunters will find slim pickings in America for at least another year, according to a new survey released yesterday.

Demand for information technology positions ranging from software programmers to network engineers will hold steady or decline in the next 12 months, according to a telephone poll of 400 hiring managers by the Arlington, Virginia-based Information Technology Association of America.

"The fact that firms have dramatically scaled back ... may indicate that they are properly staffed to handle existing and new business," ITAA President Harris Miller said.

The survey found there are about 493,000 unfilled technology jobs in the US, down from 1.6 million open positions at the start of 2000. The US has about 10.3 million technology jobs.

The tight market for technology jobs comes as hundreds of American companies outsource positions to smaller engineering and programming firms in India, China, Russia and other countries with inexpensive labor forces.

Nearly one in four large technology companies surveyed said they had already outsourced technology work to foreign countries, and an additional 15 percent of large technology companies said they were considering a similar move within the next year.

Technology companies in the West and Midwest were most likely to send jobs overseas, according to the survey. The most likely positions to move overseas were programming and software engineering jobs, followed by network design and Web development.

Although the hiring outlook remained bleak, the survey found that three out of four companies had maintained the salaries of existing technology employees. Of those companies that changed compensation, only 8 percent lowered pay, while the rest increased paychecks.

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