With the global economy continuing to tumble and the layoff announcements continuing to flow day after day, it’s a depressing time to be looking for a job.

But that doesn’t mean that they’re not out there and despite the layoffs at major technology companies, IT is still crucial to most businesses and there are opportunities out there. In its 2009 IT Hiring Trends report, staffing provider Veritude provides a good overview of where that opportunity is.

First, the bad news: the cutbacks are real. In early 2008, only 4% of the companies Veritude surveyed estimated decreases in their IT staffing requirements. This year that number has jumped to 38%. And whereas a majority (52%) projected increases in 2008, only 38% project increases this year.

Planned layoffs and budget constraints were cited as the leading reasons for the reduced staffing projections. Nothing shocking there.

But there is plenty of silver lining.

First, most of the companies looking at decreased IT staffing only plan decreases of 1-5%. Sure, that’s a lot in the overall scheme of things, but it could be a lot worse. Try finding work as an investment banker or assembly line worker these days.

The reality is, as Veritude points out, that skilled IT workers are still very much needed. So where’s the money at?

Workers with business intelligence skills (e.g. Oracle, Informatica, Hyperion, etc.) and enterprise skills (SAP, PeopleSoft, etc.) are still in demand. And those with programming skills (e.g. C++, C#, etc.) will actually see increased demand for their skills this year.

Position-wise, Veritude says that software engineers, project managers and database administrators are still very much needed and that there aren’t enough qualified candidates to go around. Where the money isn’t: enterprise architects. Demand for them has essentially fallen off a cliff according to Veritude.

Most interestingly, Veritude’s survey indicates that the challenge of finding good people really hasn’t changed despite the fact that one might assume the economic situation would provide for a supply of highly-skilled applicants.

What does this mean? Clearly not enough people are investing in developing the skills that are most needed. Whether you’re a software developer or a digital marketer, keeping your skill-set sharp and staying ahead of the curve seems to be a necessity in today’s market and there are plenty of opportunities for those who take the time and make the effort to maintain their game.

Of course, those opportunities may look a little bit different than in years past. Veritude found that there is a marked increase in the number of firms that plan to hire through temp-to-perm positions. But in these uncertain times, a temp-to-perm position is awfully appealing to a lot of folks.

Veritude’s full report is available here (registration is, unfortunately, required).

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