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Technology job openings surge, headhunters are on the prowl

A report on technology job openings reinforces evidence that the recession is receding. Do you know where your IT staff is headed? It could be out the door.

This month’s report from Dice Inc., the online job posting firm, shows that the number of full-time tech positions has jumped 20% since April, while contract jobs — temporary positions — are flat.

In addition, more than two-thirds of employed technology professionals polled by Dice this month said they have been approached by headhunters at least once since the start of the year.

Chances are, however, you haven’t heard a word about this. Of the tech professionals who are dissatisfied with their current jobs, more than half (53%) told Dice they had not discussed their concerns with their bosses. Their primary reason for looking elsewhere was — not surprising — more money. That reason was followed by “better career opportunities” and “to work on new or emerging technologies.” Green technologies and mobile applications held the strongest appeal for would-be wanderers.

Tom Silver, senior vice president at Dice North America, sees the May jump in full-time technology job openings as a strong indication of economic recovery — or at least, of employer optimism.

“In order to add permanent staff, companies must have confidence in their business outlook,” Silver remarked about the findings.

Whether employer optimism is justified or a double-dip recession is in our future, the Dice data certainly shows a steady improvement in the number of technology job openings since January 2010, and a marked improvement over this time a year ago.

Since the start of this year, for example, the total number of jobs posted on Dice climbed steadily to 69,070 for May from 48,751 postings in January. And postings for full-time jobs show the same upward trajectory, rising to 43,198 for May from 28,142 postings in January — a 53% pop.

And compared with this time last year, the May numbers are positively rosy, representing a 44% increase over the 49,016 jobs posted in May 2009.

A buyer’s market? Not compared to May two years ago, when the monthly job postings on Dice totaled about 92,000 and the full-time positions, 63,771. This is nearly equivalent to the total tech openings out there now.

Still, maybe it is time to ask your prize employees what’s on their minds.

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