For Employers

Technology Employment Forecast

Winter/Spring 2015

Strong Increases in West Michigan IT Employment and Wages

Twice each year, since 2003, Paragon Recruiting in Holland, MI, polls senior IT managers in the West Michigan market to determine what the future holds for IT staffing, outsourcing, and pay rates. Each forecast includes responses from about 100 companies.

Computer consulting and health care companies will be leaders in increased hiring of information technology staff in the next six months here in West Michigan. This certainly agrees with the Talent 2025 study discussed in Brandon Champion’s recent MLive article. That report says that by 2020 the fastest growing occupations will be in healthcare (24%) and in computers and math (19%). Overall about 60% of the companies Paragon Recruiting polls plan to increase their IT staffing next winter and spring. Not one company plans to decrease IT staff.

Over 80% of the many companies who plan to hire new tech workers are also increasing IT salaries. This compares to only 36% of hiring companies in summer 2013 who said they were raising IT pay. The Employers’ Association is a membership based HR organization in Grand Rapids that does an annual study of salaries in West Michigan. In 2013 they reported the median salary for IT ranged from $40,000-$105,000; in 2014 the median salary ranged from $44,000-$108,000. Is it scarcity of IT workers that is driving wages up?

Support professionals will be in greater demand with a jump from 34% to 55%. The need for senior and mid level IT staff is also growing. The use of IT interns has been trending down. Where will tomorrow’s professionals get their practical experience if this continues?

Paragon’s chief recruiting officer Beth DeWilde says, “2014 has been a solid steady hiring year for technology professionals.  The need for more senior level people is in line with baby boomers retiring and wages needing to increase due to a much smaller pool of workers immediately following: basic supply and demand. This should loosen up in the next couple of years with the so-called “baby-boom echo” coming into the workforce.  Let’s hope they are geeks.”

Forecast Results

IT staff to increase, decrease, or stay the same. Back to Top

Increasing IT staff: 59%
Decreasing IT staff:   0%
Staying the same: 41%

Outsourcing Back to Top

Firms outsourcing: 53%
Outsourcing Where:
Offshore 13%
Local 68%
National 47%
(some firms outsource to multiple locations)

Hiring by Industry Back to Top

Increasing Decreasing Stay the Same
Manufacturing 50% 0% 50%
Education, Government, Non-Profit 58% 0% 42%
Professional Services 57% 0% 43%
Computer Consulting 90% 0% 10%
Healthcare 50% 0% 50%
Wholesale, Retail 71% 0% 18%


Hiring by Company Size Back to Top

Number of employees Increasing Decreasing Stay the Same
1-50 77% 0% 23%
51-100 0% 0% 100%
101-250 18% 0% 82%
251-500 22% 0% 78%
501-1000 57% 0% 43%
1000+ 82% 0% 18%

The number of IT staff changing by discipline Back to Top

Increase Decrease
Applications: 81% 0%
Systems: 38% 0%
Support: 55% 0%
(some firms indicate several disciplines)

The percent of IT staff changing by level Back to Top

Increase Decrease
Senior: 55% 0%
Mid: 70% 0%
Junior: 45% 0%
(some firms indicate several levels)

IT staff pay rate to change Back to Top

Increase Decrease Stay the Same
Pay Rate: 39% 0% 61%

Anticipated use of IT interns Back to Top

Yes No
Interns 22% 78%

Hiring Trends for The last 5 years.Back to Top

If you have any questions, comments, or an interest in more detailed information, please feel free to contact us.