For those that may not know me, I’m the CEO of Dice. I want to start by saying that, as we begin to see the light at the end of tunnel after more than a year of isolation, I’m simply glad to be on this journey with all of you. What a year it has been. The pandemic affected us all, though if there’s one thing I’ve learned to count on, it’s the resilience of people, and the amazing outcomes we can see as a result of persistence.
We released our first quarter Tech Job Report in April of 2020, right after the onset of the pandemic. Although the first quarter of that year happened to be a recent highwater mark for tech hiring, the horizon could not have looked and felt more uncertain. My viewpoint as we release our first Tech Job Report in 2021 is fundamentally different. While I’m a positive person by nature, I know that I’m not alone in the optimism I feel in reviewing the state of tech hiring in the first quarter and the momentum we’ve seen over the past four months.
Tech hiring has consistently increased since November 2020, with each month outperforming the last. Overall, the first quarter of 2021 showed a 28 percent increase in job postings from the fourth quarter of 2020. While any quarter-by-quarter analysis is impacted by factors like seasonality, the drastic increase we saw in this quarter-over-quarter suggests more than just a general optimism about the recovery of the economy.
Increasing confidence in an imminent economic recovery seems to be translating into a widespread demand for talent across a variety of industries and verticals. As we cover in this report, of the top fifty hiring organizations thus far into 2021, 60 percent are hiring more than in the pre-pandemic Q1 2020. More than ever, organizations need technologists who have the experience to help them innovate and transform strategies for growth; if anything, COVID-19 only accelerated the pace of digitization for businesses around the globe.
It’s not all positive news, as there’s still ground to make up from last year (Q1 2021 job postings are down 22 percent when compared to Q1 2020), and the breadth, depth and pace of the economic recovery remains to be seen. For me, however, the consistent growth in tech job postings over the past four months, coupled with a comparatively and objectively low-tech unemployment rate (the unemployment rate for IT occupations remained at 2.4 percent in March, compared to 6 percent nationally for all occupations), shows us that we should not be surprised to see continued growth in tech hiring over the coming months and throughout the remainder of 2021.
In this edition of the Dice Tech Job Report, we present data that compares the rank of states, cities, occupations and skills in Q1 of 2021 to their positions in Q1 of 2020, as we felt it best represented the most important shifts and changes in the tech hiring landscape. We also delve into the locations, occupations and skills seeing growth through a comparison of February and March 2021. We hope that you will find this information useful as you plan for the remainder of the year.