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Demand for information-technology workers remained strong in March, as companies continued to expand stopgap digital measures deployed during the coronavirus pandemic into permanent workplace features.

U.S. employers added 50,000 new enterprise-technology workers last month, marking the fourth month of consecutive gains in the field, according to federal jobs data analyzed by IT trade group CompTIA. The gains came as companies continued to invest in technology such as cloud-based business processes, which can support remote work, CompTIA said.

IT employment gains in March were led by software and application developers, IT support specialists and systems engineers and architects, and the unemployment rate for tech workers dropped to 1.9%, its lowest level since August 2019, CompTIA said.

Encouraged by the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations, U.S. companies in March posted their biggest jobs gain since August, the Labor Department said Friday. Overall, the economy added 916,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 6%.

“There’s no doubt that the pandemic highlighted the importance of having a strong, agile team that can shift in moments of uncertainty," said Corrado Azzarita, global chief information officer at Kraft Heinz Co.

Mr. Azzarita said the company has hired steadily throughout the crisis, adding new workers or retraining employees to fill skill gaps. “Our talent development strategy for the year ahead is to continue growing our capabilities, developing new skills and diversifying our global team," Mr. Azzarita added.

Over the past year, IT jobs have proven more resilient than jobs in the broader labor market, in large part because companies sought skilled workers to oversee urgent digital efforts needed to support remote workers and keep operations running amid Covid-19 restrictions, said Matthew Charlet, a research vice president at IT research and consulting firm Gartner Inc.

“Chief information officers were amazed at how many processes were half digital and half paper," Mr. Charlet said about the state of digital technology at companies in the early months of the crisis. “It’s the pandemic that exposed this."

The momentum sparked by initial efforts to upgrade corporate tech capabilities, including an accelerated shift to cloud-based systems from in-house servers, is now spilling into 2021. “The top areas of hiring still include remote work, but also business workflow automation and analytics platforms," among other emerging technologies, Mr. Charlet said.

In a recent Gartner survey of 184 CIOs at global companies in a range of industries, 55% said they plan to increase the total number of full-time IT workers over the course of the year.

Most employers will look for staff to support automation, cloud platforms and remote-work projects, while shedding or retraining workers in areas such as data centers, systems administration and applications maintenance, Gartner said.

CompTIA estimates that U.S. employers posted 30,000 new IT job listings in March, raising the running total to more than 300,000 vacant positions. About 30% are for experienced emerging-technology workers, CompTIA said.

The tight labor market for IT talent is prompting many employers to cast a wider net for workers in high demand. At Nasdaq Inc., Brad Peterson, executive vice president and chief technology and information officer, said the exchange operator’s tech recruiting remained steady over the past year, spanning the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Sweden, Lithuania, Singapore, India and Australia among other countries.

Kraft Heinz plans to take a similar global approach to talent acquisition. “We’re already evaluating how to capture the right talent around the world regardless of the applicant’s location," Mr. Azzarita said.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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