Information Technology Workers:

Employment and Starting Salaries

HEHS-98-159R: Published: May 12, 1998. Publicly Released: May 19, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on recent trends in information technology (IT) employment and starting salaries for IT jobs, focusing on the: (1) unemployment rates for workers in IT occupations; (2) number of workers employed in IT industries and occupations; (3) number of degrees awarded in IT fields of study; and (4) starting salaries offered bachelor's degree candidates in IT jobs.

GAO noted that: (1) unemployment rates for workers in IT occupations are well below those for all workers; (2) at 1.3 percent in 1997, the rate was less than one-third the rate for all workers; (3) employment in IT industries has grown steadily, as has employment of workers in IT occupations, which has nearly doubled in the last decade to about 1.9 million in 1997; (4) despite employment increases averaging 90,000 jobs a year in IT occupations, the number of degrees awarded in IT fields of study has remained fairly constant throughout the 1990s at about 48,000 annually--of which about 27,000 were bachelor's degrees; and (5) salary offers for bachelor's degree candidates in IT fields averaged about $37,500 in 1997--slightly higher than the salaries offered in 1989, after adjusting for inflation, and above the salaries offered in the early 1990s when starting salaries dipped to under $35,000.

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