RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Information technology job seekers likely face a longer search for new positions than they have in the past, says the latest employment survey from SkillPROOF and the North Carolina Technology Association.

How bad is it? Well, SkillPROOF puts it succinctly: “The national IT job market declined 8.8 percent (in October) as compared [with] September, the largest one-month drop since SkillPROOF began recording job postings in January 2004.”

The high-tech Triangle and other parts of North Carolina haven’t been spared from the ravages of the economic downtown on Wall Street. The state’s unemployment rate hit 7 percent in October, and that figure certainly is reflected in N.C. tech job listings.

“In October, employers in North Carolina reduced the number of open positions by 12.4 percent,” and said in their latest report.

Not much improvement is seen in the near future.

“Due to the negative economic climate, we don’t expect employers to provide more opportunities this year,” the report says.

Ouch. That’s bad news for people recently let go at Lenovo, IBM, Sony Ericsson and numerous other places.

IT job openings across North Carolina dipped to 2,960 in October compared with 3,380 in September and 3,840 a year earlier. Just two years ago, companies were looking for 4,950 workers. How times have changed – for the worse.

As usual, demand remains strong for sales and marketing jobs. There was no change in October from September. However, demand for just about everything else dipped, especially in software development, where job postings fell to 520 from 700 a year ago.

Most of the jobs (920) are in systems engineering and support.

So what jobs are in most demand? Here they are, by specific skill set:

  • SQL: 500
  • Windows OS: 430
  • Unix: 420
  • Oracle DBMS: 380
  • Java: 350
  • Linux: 270
  • XML: 240
  • Microsoft SQL Server: 230
  • Business Analysis: 210
  • C++/VC++: 180
  • Large system technologies: 170
  • Web services: 160
  • OO (analysis/design/programming): 150
  • CCIE: 140
  • Perl: 140