Historic highs in tech job postings persist through first half of year

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Tech job postings rose 45% in the first half of 2022, according to Tuesday’s Dice Tech Job Report, an increase of 52% from the same period last year.

But the hiring frenzy slowed in June. Postings fell to 555,000 in June, down from 665,000 in May, marking the first month-over-month decline since September 2021. Postings were still up 60% over June of last year, based on the Dice analysis.

While high-profile layoffs and hiring freezes have captured headlines in recent months, there is still a massive supply-demand imbalance, according to Art Zeile, president and CEO of Dice’s parent company DHI Group.

“The job market for technology workers is still on fire — hugely on fire,” Zeile said.

The tech workforce isn’t immune to the effects of macroeconomic change, but it has shown remarkable resilience.

Inflation spikes, interest rate hikes and slowing GDP have taken a toll on discretionary spending, as executives trim budgets. But commitment to modernization, digitization and cloud migration hasn’t wavered. And new technology requires additional technologists.

“Because technology is so tightly integrated with business strategy, technical staff are typically not among the first groups considered for resource actions,” according to Seth Robinson, VP of industry research at CompTIA. 

The 17% June dip Dice tracked was expected, both as an overcorrection to a May job postings spike of 40% and as part of a perennial summer slump. In pre-pandemic 2019, postings fell by 11%, according to the report.

Tech job posting levels show sustained demand for talent

U.S. tech job postings, Jan. 2019 through June 2022

“Even the numbers in the summertime, which are a seasonal low point in the year, are vastly higher than going into the pandemic,” said Zeile.

Rumors of pending layoffs at Facebook, talk of a hiring freeze at Google and actual cuts at Microsoft have fueled concerns about a weakening market for tech talent. But those concerns are largely unfounded, the Dice report shows. All three tech giants ranked as top employers of tech talent, along with strong showings by Amazon, Apple and Dell.

“People have asked why these news items about companies pausing hiring or laying off technology workers are popping up,” Zeile said. “I literally suggest that they go to the Meta careers page and see that last week they had 36,000 technology openings.”

Heavy investment in technology by companies outside of the tech sector — Disney, Bank of America and Pearson are singled out in the report — is partially responsible for sustained demand.

To the extent that there have been layoffs, particularly at tech startups, they have not had a significant impact on the overall numbers. 

“The segment that has seen the most impact from macroeconomic conditions are companies that experienced dramatic growth during the pandemic and are now making adjustments to build sustainable operations,” Robinson said. “This segment is relatively small across the U.S. economy, so there is a minimal impact on overall demand.”

A fundamental scarcity in the tech talent pool stands in the way of satisfying that demand.

In July, the tech unemployment rate, despite ominous economic indicators, stood at a near historic low of 1.7%, according to CompTIA’s monthly analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

“We are not going to be able to scale the education system to solve this problem,” Zeile said.

One source of relief can and has historically come through the H-1B program, which grants a set number of visas to skilled workers. Currently, that limit is 85,000. If every H-1B visa were given to a technologist, it would only be “a drop in the bucket against the demand profile,” Zeile said.

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