Bob Hodgson, a Camdenton, Mo.-based recruiter affiliated with Management Recruiters International, helps companies find AS/400 programmers for full-time positions throughout the Southeast and Midwest. Since last summer, he has noted in those areas "a weaker demand for AS/400 programmers, but nothing to panic about." Still, Hodgson says AS/400 pros can find better opportunities - and higher salaries - in northern states.
SEARCH400.COM: Which areas are most depressed for AS/400 programmers?
HODGSON: There has been a big slowdown for AS/400 programmers in general. We started seeing it after Labor Day 1999, and it hasn't improved since. The market is softest in southern states like Alabama, Arkansas and Alabama.
SEARCH400.COM: So you attribute the slowdown to Y2K-related hiring?
HODGSON: Yes. Through August and September, employers were hiring programmers to help them become Y2K-compliant. But once all the code was certified [as compliant], many wouldn't go in to maintain it until after February 29.
SEARCH400.COM: But why haven't more jobs become available since then?
HODGSON: I think the federal government is issuing too many visas to programmers from other countries. They probably thought we needed them to handle Y2K, but now there is a glut of programmers in the market.
SEARCH400.COM: How has that glut affected salaries?
HODGSON: Salaries are being driven down. Programmers who were making over $80,000 prior to Y2K are finding that they will have to take a cut in pay to get a job. I recently had to tell a programmer asking for $65,000 that he was pricing himself out of the market.
Baard is a contributing editor in Milton, Mass.
This was first published in April 2000