Buoyant outlook for jobs in European tech sector

7 March 2007

Eurocom Worldwide annual technology study finds record confidence levels, tempered by threat of jobs moving to lower-cost centres

The outlook for employment in the European technology sector is buoyant, but the haemorrhaging of jobs to lower-cost locations looks set to accelerate. These are the findings of the annual IT confidence survey by global PR network Eurocom Worldwide in association with its UK member agency, Six Degrees, based in Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

The study finds record levels of confidence across the European tech sector, with 63 per cent expecting to increase headcount (58 per cent last year) and only four per cent expecting job losses (eight per cent last year).

“The healthy jobs outlook is highlighted by the fact that the skills shortage is now listed as the biggest threat to the tech sector,” commented Jennifer Janson, Managing Director of Six Degrees. However, she warned that certain jobs will continue to move to lower-cost centres such as China and India. “The study finds that not only are traditional manufacturing jobs at risk, but increasingly service jobs are shifting to lower-cost centres as well.”

Eighty-one per cent of respondents believe that their country is losing tech manufacturing jobs to lower-cost centres such as China, India and Eastern Europe. Fifty-eight per cent believe that service jobs are moving as well.

“The study finds a significant increase in confidence levels from an already high base last year,” added Mads Christensen, Network Director, Eurocom Worldwide. Sixty-five per cent of respondents are more confident about tech sector prospects in 2007, compared with 53 per cent last year. Over 90 per cent expect revenues to increase over the next 12 months (79 per cent last year).

Skills most in demand by the industry are software engineers, followed by international sales, project management and domestic salespeople.

Tech sectors that expect to see most growth over the next 12 months are IT security, followed by mobile services, on-demand computing/software-as-a-service, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and IT outsourcing.

Geographically, the best prospects for tech sector growth are seen in Western Europe (38 per cent) followed by North America (19 per cent); Central & Eastern Europe (17 per cent) and China (10 per cent).

Respondents are bearish on the outlook for the US economy, with 33 per cent saying they are less confident about its prospects, compared with 19 per cent who say they are more confident. Despite the bullish outlook for the tech sector overall, 43 per cent of respondents expect the tech-heavy NASDAQ to mark time over the next 12 months. A similar number expect it to rise, while 14 per cent expect a fall in NASDAQ shares.

When it comes to global warming, nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents believe that the technology industry has a role to play in its prevention and should be doing more. A total of 217 CEO, director or VP-level executives in Europe responded to the survey.

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