Not so fast. But gas and electric utilities may follow telecom's hiring boom.
According to the latest labor statistics, employment levels in the communications and public utilities industries remained flat during the past year. (Communications, as defined by the U.S. Labor Department, includes telecommunications.) Rather than indicating a reversal of the declining staff levels at utilities, however, this grouping of industries cloaks hiring growth of nearly 40 percent in communications and continuing cuts in the energy, gas and sanitary services sectors.
U.S. Labor Department statistics reveal that while employment in the communications and public utilities category was flat during the past year, hiring jumped nearly 12 percent during the past decade. Most of those hires, however, were in the high-growth communications category. Employment in communications soared 38.9 percent from August 1998 to August 1999, or 30.4 percent during the past decade. Employment in the electric, gas and sanitary services industry, by comparison, fell 1.5 percent last year, or 10.9 percent during the past decade.
Reasons for the employment disparity between the two industries aren't difficult to see.
"Basically, with telecommunications there's just been so much tremendous growth in new products, new companies," says Chuck Jentlie, technical recruiter at Chandler, Ariz.-based Career Search Consultants LLC.
On the utilities side, "we're seeing a certain amount of chaos, and no one knows exactly what their direction is. Companies will tend to decide they're going to take a new direction ¼ but a lot of times, three months later ¼ they'll change direction again," he says.