This article is published in the May 2008 issue.

BLS Predicts Strong Job Growth and High Salaries for IT Workforce through 2016

In its employment projections for 2006-2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that professional level IT occupations will continue to enjoy high salaries and more than twice the growth rate as the overall workforce.

Every two years, BLS releases workforce projections covering a 10-year period. The definition for the ‘professional IT workforce’ used here is that used by the Department of Commerce’s Office of Technology Policy. This adds two occupations to those listed under the “Computer specialists” category (15-0000 through 15-1099) in the BLS tables: Computer and information system managers (11-3021) and Computer hardware engineers (17-2061).

BLS estimates that the professional-level IT workforce will create 1 in 19 new jobs between 2006 and 2016. In addition, many of these jobs will pay well.

In 2006, there were 3.5 million IT professionals out of a total workforce of 150.6 million. This part of the IT workforce is projected to add about 854,000 new jobs between 2006 and 2016, an increase of about 24%. Total job openings, which combine new jobs and net replacements, are projected to be 1.64 million for IT professionals. The overall workforce is expected to grow about 10% between 2006 and 2016, adding 15.6 million new jobs. This number increases to 50.73 million jobs once net replacements are added in.

Five of the 30 occupations that are projected to grow the fastest (i.e., percent gain) between 2006 and 2016 are in the IT profession. Among the 30 fastest-growing occupations, 11 have median salary earnings of $46,360 or above, including all five IT occupations.

Three of the five IT occupations listed as the fastest growing also rank among the 30 that are projected to have the largest numeric growth. Only 7 of these 30 have median salary earnings of $46,360 or more, including all three IT occupations.

Note: The 2006-2016 projections appear in five articles in the November 2007 issue of the Monthly Labor Review, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor:

BLS Predicts Strong Job Growth and High Salaries for IT Workforce through 2016