JobStats - July 2002 - Paint it black: 09 Jul 2002
09 Jul 2002
Things are still getting worse. The number of advertised jobs is going down,
rates are static or going down. The market is at half the level it was three
years ago. Not only is there's no sign of any improvement but every month since
Christmas has been down on the last. There was a brief levelling off in March
but that was a false dawn which led me (mad optimist that I am) to suggest that
things might have reached the bottom.
Within this picture there are some (relatively) bright spots.
Contracting vacancies while still falling are falling at a much slower rate
than the overall market as contract vacancies return to their old market share
of about one quarter of the adverts. Remember that this doesn't mean that a
quarter of all jobs are for contractors just that a quarter of adverts are for
contractors. The economics might make a contractor worth more to an agency and
so they will be more willing to advertise a contract vacancy than a permanent
finance knowledge, having trebled up to April 2001 has fallen but only
back to the level of three years ago and rates are still up or only marginally
down on their level three years ago.
Similarly management skills trebled in demand and have since fallen back to
their level of three years ago.
What's done so badly then to counteract these skills which have kept their
level. Basically its the dot-com bubble skills that have fallen sharply.
Skills like e-commerce are at a third of their level three years ago and
they have dragged the market down with them.
Symptoms of the dark days
Lets start by looking at what happens when the job market is booming. What
you've got is too many employers chasing too few skilled staff, when demand
goes up and the supply (in the short term) is fixed the price rises. No surprises
here. But the smart employers don't want to pay more so they look for ways
to reward staff that don't cost them anything. Like dress-down Fridays and then
dress-down summers and finally dress-down all week. One firm of accountants went
so far as to insist on staff dressing down, thereby missing the point completely.
Some of the sillier firms even had pinball machines and games consoles in the office;
did any of these companies make any money at all. One bank had a chill-out room where
people could go when they got too stressed out. My guess is that the room is now
empty, the last occupant found basking in there having been harpooned by the HR
department and dragged off to be rendered down to lamp oil.
What happens when times get tough is that power switches from employees to
employers. So pay rates fall or at least don't go up much and all the 'free' perks
get taken away. That's why you don't see many adverts telling you about the quality of
the games room any more and that's why more people are wearing suits again.
What can you do about it
This time around nothing but next time you see rates rising by 50 percent in a year
and companies offering pool tables in the office you should get the highest rate you
can with the biggest, most stable company you can and save as much as you can 'cause it
aint gonna last.
I am keen to improve this site, if you have any comments, praise
or complaints I would like to hear from you. If you have job listings
and would like me to feature your site or if you have any pages of general
interest to computing staff, then drop me a line.
This is the old version of the site. A new version can be found here: