IT staffing firms with US operations have reason to be optimistic about long-term growth prospects for IT-related employment, according to recently updated projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook provides information on hundreds of occupations that account for most jobs in the US. Each occupational profile includes information about job duties, work environment, education and training requirements, wages, and employment outlook. The outlook reflects the agency’s 10-year employment projections (2020-2030) and is updated annually.
The BLS projects employment in computer and information technology occupations to add 668,000 jobs by 2030 to reach a total of 5.7 million jobs. This would represent growth of 13.4% over the period, which would be significantly greater than the 7.7% growth projected for all occupational categories.
Among all occupational categories, computer and IT occupations rank fourth in growth rate percentage, behind healthcare support (23.1%), personal care and service (21.7%), and food preparation and serving-related occupations (19.6%). However, after adjusting for the effects of pandemic recovery, computer and IT occupations moves into second (up from third two years ago) after healthcare support occupations. The BLS cited greater emphasis on cloud computing, storage of big data and information security as key drivers of growth. Information security analysts, the fastest growing job amongst computer and IT occupations, ranked as the 19th fastest-growing job overall.
Computer programmers, on the other hand, are projected to be the only occupation in the group to experience a decline in jobs. This reflects a continuing trend in computer programming jobs as employers hire more programmers in countries outside the US with lower wages. However, the BLS noted that high costs associated with managing overseas workers could motivate some companies to keep more programming jobs in the US.
BLS Employment Projections for Computer Occupations
(click on chart to enlarge)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics and SIA
The median annual wage for computer and IT occupations was $91,250 as of May 2020, up 5.7% from the period two years ago. The highest median annual pay among the group was for computer and information research scientists at $126,830, while the lowest was for computer support specialists at $55,510.
Overall, IT staffing firms can look forward to continued improvement in IT employment and wage growth as demand for IT talent remains elevated over the next decade. The Occupational Outlook Handbook section covering computer and information technology occupations is available online.
Upcoming research. SIA has three IT staffing reports to keep an eye out for. Over the next six weeks, we plan to publish the following research: Sizing the Global IT Staffing Market, IT Staffing: Growth Opportunities in the New World and Largest IT Staffing Firms in Europe.