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After a stagnant 2009, which saw wages paid to temporary technical professionals remain relatively flat (see figure 1), the Yoh Index of Technology Wages reported its first substantive increase since October 2009, suggesting the possibility that the long-awaited recovery in employment could be underway. The Yoh Index, which has been benchmarking technical wages since 2001 in information technology, life sciences, engineering, health care, and aerospace and defense, reversed an early decline in Q1 2010 posting a 2 percent uptick from February to March 2010 (see figure 2).

At the same time, actual wage rates for highly talented temporary employees also increased by 2 percent in the first quarter of 2010. This supports the notion that job creation has taken hold at corporations across a range of industries.

Temporary employee wages are generally considered a bell weather of future jobs creation, as employers turn first to temporary workers in advance of hiring full-time employees in an improving economy. An increase in both the index and real wages suggests that demand for these professionals grew in the first quarter of 2010 and that this demand increased temporary labor costs. As these costs rise, employers tend to moderate that investment by hiring full-time workers, transforming variable to fixed costs, once convinced of future economic strength.

“Statistically and anecdotally, we are seeing a generalized improvement in employment across our tracked industries,” says Lori Schultz, President of Yoh. “During the past two years, the Yoh Index, like the American economy, has moved in fits and starts. But we see this latest data as the most promising signs yet that green shoots are giving way to real economic opportunity with corporations moving to hire, at least on a temporary basis, professional technical talent.”

Schultz notes that while the Yoh Index improved, the job market is still facing impediments.

“For instance, in IT, employment is still being restricted by squeezed budgets that are not only limiting the financing of much needed maintenance, but investment on new projects and deployments,” says Schiultz. “IT workers and wages were also hit hard by the recession through layoffs and unemployment, which still lingers at 9.7 percent overall. The velocity of wage improvements, and in turn, employment will be dictated by the pace of increased corporate IT maintenance schedules, which will begin to absorb the current over supply of talent. We do, however, see a number of forces that could accelerate that absorption for IT and set the stage for even greater job creation.”

Factors Fueling Technical Wage Increases for Temporary IT Talent

According to Yoh analysts, key factors in future technical wage increases for temporary workers will be influenced by a number of structural and cyclical events.

“The sheer nature of the recession, its depth and impact, caused many corporations to simply suspend significant IT upgrades and modernizations,” says Schultz. “However, outside factors, such as security, cloud computing, and consumerization of IT took no such holiday. Corporations are now faced with the decision of not only cleaning up, but catching up, or forever forsake market share and market leadership.”

In security, for instance, the level of threat, as demonstrated by international attacks on Google, proves that even the most technically advanced corporations in the world are susceptible to risk. Corporate governance demands mitigation now that IT investment is being normalized.

Cloud computing initiatives, a trend that has only been accelerated by the recession and the need to embrace the promise and efficiencies of a Web 2.0 world, could also fuel IT labor demand as SaaS platforms and architecture purge costs from the IT eco-systems in every industry.

Consumerization, or the increasing tendency of workers to incorporate personal technology into their employer's IT infrastructure, could also open the door to job creation. The April 3 release of the iPad, bought by 300,000 consumers in one day, resulted in iPad-armed employees showing up to work that Monday fully expecting IT to support their new productivity toy.

The problem? Few, if any, IT professionals had seen or reviewed the device, let alone developed strategies to integrate and support the new tool. Yoh predicts that temporary technical workers could in the near term form the frontline in the battle to effectively integrate consumer technologies into corporate IT platforms.

“These factors, coupled with a promising Yoh Index suggest that the first steps in employment recovery could be upon us or just around the corner,” says Shultz. “There are, however, actions that must be taken in order for employers leveraging temporary technical professionals to immediately place control over variable costs that will inevitably increase with growing demand, and prepare an infrastructure necessary to grow the permanent employee ranks.”

Yoh's recommendations:

Evaluate Permanent Recruiting Infrastructure: Calculate recruitment personnel needs and determine the method and timing for addressing identified gaps.

Inventory all non-employees: Extending the utilization of current resources will typically let organizations retain talent at more competitive rates.

Supplier Collaboration: Work with talent suppliers to discuss pay-rate terms over agreed longer-term periods if a standard agreement does not already exist.

Determine Threshold for Statements of Work: Evaluate current slated statement of work agreements. Enable sourcing talent needed for current project-oriented deliverables and retain resources beyond project completion.

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For over 70 years, Yoh has provided the talent needed for the jobs and projects critical to our client’s success, by providing comprehensive workforce solutions that focus on Aerospace and Defense, Engineering, Federal Services, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Information Technology, and Telecommunications. Yoh fulfills immediate resource needs and delivers enterprise workforce solutions, including Managed Services, Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Vendor Management Systems, Independent Contractor Compliance, and Payroll Services. For more information, visit

Yoh is a part of Yoh Services LLC, a Day & Zimmermann Company.


Day & Zimmermann accelerates customer success by delivering diversified services. Operating from more than 150 worldwide locations with 2.4 billion USD in revenues, the Day & Zimmermann family of companies employs 24,000 professionals and is currently ranked as one of the largest private companies in America by Forbes and is a former winner of the U.S. National Family Business of the Year award. Founded in 1901 and headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., Day & Zimmermann companies today provide architectural-engineering-construction services, power plant maintenance, modification and specialty services, security services, staffing services, and validation services to businesses and government agencies, and munitions production, equipment maintenance and facilities management services to the Department of Defense. For more information, visit


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Figure 1: Yoh Index of Technology Wages by Quarter:

Figure 2: Yoh Index of Technology Wages Q1 2010:

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