Indeed: Tech sector finally feels aftershock of COVID-19

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As of July 24, tech job postings are doing worse than postings overall in half of tech hubs and 89% of non-tech hubs.

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.

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US tech sector sales to drop this year amid coronavirus-spurred downturn

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Revenues will drop by 2.2% in 2020, but consumer spending on streaming services and connected health devices will fare better than expected, says the Consumer Technology Association.

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Image: itakdalee, Getty Images/iStockphoto

The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic slump have impacted many industries with lower sales and weaker consumer demand. At the same time, the COVID-19 lockdown has triggered a greater need for products and services that can help people better stay and work at home. The US tech industry is one sector that will see its revenues drop this year even though certain segments will thrive as a result of the quarantine.

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In a report released on Monday, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) forecast that US tech industry sales will dip to $406.8 billion in 2020, a decline of 2.2% from 2019. In projecting the decline, the CTA pointed to consumers struggling with economic uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. In particular, sales of smartphones, laptops, and TVs will be hit.

Smartphone shipments are projected to drop by 6% to 153 million units, generating revenue of $72 billion. One break in the downturn will be 5G smartphones, with Apple and other vendors expected to unveil new devices in the fall. The CTA anticipates more than 14 million 5G phones will ship this year (a gain of 800% from last year), accounting for $11 billion in sales.

Though sales of laptops surged following the shift to remote working and stay-at-home orders, shipments are expected to fall by 2% this year to 52 million, with revenue dropping by 7% to $31 billion. In its forecast, the CTA cited reduced spending from both the consumer and enterprise markets.

SEE: Google Duo guidebook (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Purchases of televisions may grow for the year. But the increase won’t offset an overall annual decline due to financial conditions and the loss of live sports. For 2020, shipments of TVs will fall by 6% to 39 million while revenues will drop by 14% to $21 billion. On the plus side, 4K UHD TVs will carve out unit sales of around 25 million this year, a 10% increase from 2019. At the same time, sales of 8K UHD TVs will rise to 900,000 units, up 350% from last year when they were introduced in the US.

As the coronavirus lockdown has forced so many people to self-quarantine at home, certain tech products and services have benefited from a jump in consumer demand.

Spending on streaming and software services, including audio, video, and video gaming, are projected to hit a record high of $86 billion this year, up 14% from last year. Spending on video streaming services is expected to increase by 23% to $27 billion. Shipments of gaming consoles are forecast to rise by 5% to 13 million units, with revenues growing by 7% to $3.9 billion.

As people turn to podcasts, audiobooks, and music, revenues for audio services such as Apple Music, Pandora, and Spotify are forecast to rise by 21% to $8 billion. Spending on video game software and services are expected to hit $40 billion this year, up 10% from 2019.

SEE: iPad comparisons: Which Apple device is best for business users? (TechRepublic)

One segment likely to see more unit sales but lower revenues will be connected health devices. Shipments of health and fitness products such as smartwatches, fitness activity trackers, and connected health monitoring devices are forecast to rise 4% to 58 million units this year, but revenues will fall by 4% to $8.4 million.

As people monitor potential coronavirus symptoms and other conditions from home, the fastest growth in this segment has been with pulse oximeters, blood pressure monitors, and connected thermometers. As such, shipments of connected health monitoring devices are projected to rise by 75% to 10 million units, while sales are seen jumping 73% to $632 million.

Another beneficiary of the coronavirus quarantine will be wireless earbuds. More people are using these products as they work from home, while more devices are hitting the market at a wider range of prices. Wireless earbuds, including Apple AirPods and Samsung Galaxy Buds, could see unit sales surge by 50% to 67.5 million, with revenues rising by 29% to almost $8 billion in revenue.

This year’s decline in revenues will mark the tech industry’s first since 2009. But the CTA sees a rebound in 2021 with revenue growth of 5.2%.

CTA’s report reflects U.S. manufacturer shipments for more than 300 consumer tech products and related software and services. For its 2020 forecast, the CTA analyzed four factors: the longevity of the COVID-19 health crisis, the economic hardship placing downward pressure on consumer spending, unemployment rates, and supply chain issues.

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US IT sector jobs slowly rebounding after coronavirus dip

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A CompTIA report showed that there was an increase of 7,300 jobs in the tech manufacturing field in June.

Young woman sitting in lobby with resume in hands and waiting for job interview

Young woman sitting in lobby with resume in hands and waiting for job interview

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Jobs in the tech industry are slowly coming back after a disastrous two month span, according to the nonprofit tech industry trade association CompTIA. Overall, the economy showed renewed signs of life after a disastrous stretch between April and May. 

The June 2020 study revealed that for the tech occupation, IT jobs across all industry sectors of the economy increased by an estimated 227,000 positions, but when researchers drilled down further the numbers were a bit more complicated. 

Overall, there was a slight decline of 5,600 jobs in terms of tech industry employment but three of five sectors saw positive increases. The tech manufacturing sector specifically led the way with a net increase of 7,300 jobs that included technical and non-technical positions. The data processing, hosting, and related services sector saw a 5,600 bump in job gains while the information services category, which includes search engines and portals, experienced a 2,200 position increase.

“The latest employment data for tech was generally positive, with continuing signs of momentum,” said Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence at CompTIA. “While uncertainty is still a major concern, the forward-looking employer job posting figures suggest hiring will accelerate in areas such as software development, IT support, cloud infrastructure, cybersecurity, and certain emerging tech fields.”

SEE: The new normal: What work will look like post-pandemic (TechRepublic Premium)

The industry is still recovering from job losses in April and May. In February, the IT sector reached its peak at nearly 4.8 million positions. But by May it was down to about 4.6 million and stayed steady in June, signaling that things are slowly recovering. For June, the telecommunications sector saw a dip of 300 positions while “IT & software services—computer system design” experienced a loss of 20,400 jobs. 

IT job postings also saw a precipitous drop as companies tried to weather the economic storm caused by the coronavirus pandemic. February and March saw 350,000 IT job postings but that figure fell to almost 200,000 by May. June saw a slight rebound to over 250,000, with positions like software developer, IT support specialist, systems engineers/architects, systems analysts, and IT project managers seeing the biggest increases in demand.

Between May and June, cities like Washington, New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, and Phoenix saw the biggest bumps in IT job postings. Amazon, Wells Fargo, Anthem Blue Cross, IBM, Northrop Grumman, Stanley Black & Decker, and Boeing were some of the top companies in terms of IT job postings.  

Industries ranging from “professional, scientific, and technical Services” to finance, insurance and manufacturing were the most in need of IT expertise. 

“Because the IT services and custom software development segment is dominated by small firms, they tend to be more sensitive to disruptions in customer spending,” said Herbert. “As the broad small business market recovers, we expect hiring will resume among IT services and customer software development firms.”

The CompTIA report comes on the heels of a positive jobs report released last week, showing that employers added 4.8 million jobs, which pushed the nation’s unemployment rate down to 11.1%. Despite the positive jobs report, experts believe there may be trouble ahead as coronavirus infections spike across a number of states and some have had to close again. 

Glassdoor noted that the jobs report for July may look worse than June if states across the South and West have to put shelter-in-place orders back into effect, but they did say it would not be as bad as what the country saw in April. 

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