The American Electronics Association is reporting that the tech job market is getting hot again, with a net gain of 61,000 new good-paying technology gigs added to last year’s pool of 5.6 million.
Although some U.S. states lost technology jobs while others gained, the overall increase marks an end to a long tech job skid.
“This growth is an important first step in the turnaround of the high-tech industry, and represents a significant change from a previous four-year decline,” the AeA said in its report, titled “Cyberstates 2006, A Complete State-by-State Overview of the High-Technology Industry.”
Turning the Corner
The growth in 2005 indicates the industry has “turned the corner,” AeA Vice President of Research and Industry Analysis Matthew Kazmierczak told TechNewsWorld.
Among the hottest tech job areas are software and services, engineering, testing, and research and development, according to Kazmierczak. One area where there are still job losses, however, is telecommunications.
Venture capital and other investment in technology was down in 2005 after an increase in 2004. However, this can be viewed positively and shows investors are being more cautious, lessening the likelihood of another tech bubble, Kazmierczak noted.
In Search of Skill Sets
Although unemployment among tech workers remains low, the high demand for various technology skill sets indicates the U.S. may be headed toward a shortage of American tech professionals, Kazmierczak suggested.
“The challenge is the skill sets of workers,” he said, noting that more than half of working Ph.D. degree holders in the U.S. tech industry are foreign workers.
“The lack of homegrown scientists and engineers is significant,” hr remarked.
AeA is calling for visa system reform so that more foreign students who enter technology professions stay in the U.S.
The U.S. tech industry is experiencing some very strong growth right now, according to John Challenger, president of outplacement advising company Challenger Gray and Christmas.
“I do think there’s a rebuilding cycle going on in technology,” he told TechNewsWorld.
Challenger explained that companies are now confident enough to reinvest and take on more workers. Areas he highlighted as particularly hot are wireless and broadband technologies, business-to-business technology and systems control.