Dice Job Postings Tell Story Of Tough IT Market

Job posting numbers from Dice (profile; site) show the IT recession worsening in the last six months, and there’s no evidence that relief is anywhere close.

From September through the February 2nd job-posting census Dice.com lost 33 percent of its listings. Over the last 12 months, since February 1, 2008 when 94,423 jobs were online, to Feb. 2, when 57,337 postings were counted, the job count dropped 39.3 percent. In fact, the one-month drop from December to January (17.7 percent) was the worst in the six years of posting records Dice released.

CNET saw a glimmer of improvement in the change since the beginning of the year, but that 3.1 percent increase in listings may be nothing more than the seasonal bounce that follows the end-of-year drop in listings for most job boards. It’s also the smallest Jan-Feb. change in the last six years.

Not all is entirely gloomy. Dice did show an increase in contract positions during the Jan.-Feb. period. Contract jobs accounted for about 42 percent of the total jobs, the highest since the tech recovery of the first half of the decade. But the actual increase in jobs was slight and it doesn’t necessarily mean more temp jobs are coming online. Employers can choose to categorize the jobs they have in multiple ways, so it’s possible that more employers are choosing to list an opening as both full-time and contract.

A Dice survey reported in December that 7 in 10 recruiters and hiring managers expect to curtail their hiring of technology professionals at least through June. The survey also found that almost half expected layoffs.

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No surprise, therefore, that Dice had a tough 4th quarter, reporting a loss of $2.9 million. It also saw its revenues drop 10 percent, from $39.5 million in 2007 to $35.5 million. For the year, Dice Holdings, which owns Dice.com and eFinancialCareers.com, among others, reported revenues of $155 million and profit of $15.3 million, a slight decline from the prior year’s $15.5 million profit (before certain dividends) on  revenue of $142 million. Dice.com is responsible for about 70 percent of the company’s revenue.

The company warned that it expected net income in 2009 to be off a third, coming in around $10 million. Revenues for 2009 are projected at $110 million. The first-quarter revenues are expected at $29.5 million, so it appears Dice expects things to continue to get worse before they get better.

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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