IT professionals are favouring permanent work over job hopping as online job advertisements in the IT and telecommunications sector fell by 15.5 per cent last month.
According to the Olivier Internet job index, IT&T, the former dominant sector accounted for just 31.4 per cent of advertised jobs in December 2001. It now has one sixth of the number of jobs that were advertised at its peak.
Robert Olivier, a director of the Olivier Recruitment Group said IT is still a firm career direction which people shouldn't be walking away from.
"The outlook on employment for IT professionals this year will be largely driven by how well the US economy performs. The market is more balanced so job seekers are having to be more flexible in their earnings as they can't pick and choose."
Olivier said there is more of a retreat to job security as IT professionals are favouring permanent work rather than job-hopping or contracting.
"They are now looking for a period of stability which I think employers still like," he said.
As for the year ahead, Olivier advises IT professionals to be realistic: "go find a job, it won't come to you".
Olivier also advises IT professionals not to take retrenchments personally.
"Being retrenched is a new experience for many in IT but it is not a reflection on them necessarily, and people recruiting understand that."
"If you are one in 5000, it is a case of 'wrong place at the wrong time', but if it is just you, questions will be asked," Olivier said.
The Olivier Internet job index has fallen to its lowest point ever to register just 75.16 in December 2001, with an overall monthly fall of 14.8 per cent.
Despite the lowest point ever, Olivier said he expects to see a bounce back by February.
According to the job index, there are now just over three-quarters of the number of jobs advertised compared to December 1999, when counting began.
All 21 industry sectors surveyed recorded falls. The worst hit sector was multimedia Internet and graphics, which fell almost 30 per cent in the month.