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News on IT Jobs Not All Grim

Companies swear commitment to technology strategies in place.

As a weakening economy forces more belt-tightening, the financial services industry is seeing more job cuts—and IT jobs are not immune.

Among the insurance and financial services firms recently announcing job cuts have been MetLife (New York, $302.5 billion in assets), which announced it would lay off 1,900 employees, and Fidelity Investments (Boston, $813.1 billion in assets), which planned to let go 760 people.

Of the 1,900 cuts at MetLife, 340 were operations and technology positions supporting the individual business unit. According to a statement issued at press time to Insurance & Technology, the firm remains committed to its long-term IT strategy, but declined to be specific about the cuts. "IT, along with the entire MetLife enterprise, is working to cut expenses and streamline our organization in order to build long-term value for our shareholders and customers," the statement says.

If MetLife is weathering the demands of demutualization, Fidelity, which operates the marketplace, may be benefitting from its non-public status. "One of the strengths of being privately held is that we're able to continue to invest in new products and services and technology at times when other companies are not able to," says Anne Crowley, a spokesperson for Fidelity, who adds that "there was negligible impact in the technology area."

In part, layoffs in IT represent a consequence of "hyper-growth hiring" over the past couple of years, according to Jeff Markham, metro market manager, San Fransico, Robert Half International (RHI, Menlo Park, CA). "Now companies are choosing to maintain existing staff levels," to trim costs and avoid layoffs, Markham says. "Companies are now getting back to normal levels of employment within IT groups."

Anthony O'Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information ... View Full Bio

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