The economy is bad, and it’s hitting the IT sector head on.

The country is experiencing the lowest hiring demand for IT professionals in at least 15 years as extensive layoffs, cost-cutting and hiring freezes are putting the squeeze on higher-payed positions, like IT jobs. This is according to a survey of IT salaries from Janco Associates.

The mean salary for IT positions in mid-sized enterprises dropped 2.91% to $73,607. The mean salary for IT positions in large enterprises dropped less; it fell 1.2% to $81,128.

IT Salaries Are Now Lower Than They Were During The Dot-Com Bust
IT Salaries Are Now Lower Than They Were During The Dot-Com Bust

In addition to salary cuts, employers are cutting jobs and cutting benefits to those they keep on payroll. Health insurance and other benefits are either being cut, or employees are being required to pay more into them out of their own pockets. For the second time in less than 10 years, data suggests that more IT professionals are delaying retirement.

Particularly vulnerable IT positions for layoffs include software engineers, network technicians, network services admins, directors of IT planning, managers of technical services and disaster recovery admins.

Some IT jobs seem relatively safe, despite the economy. These include database managers, internet systems managers, database specialists and systems programmers.

“The job market for IT professionals is one of the worst that I have seen since the late 1970s. There is a surplus of IT talent and companies are in a cost-cutting mode,” Janco Associates chief executive Victor Janulaitis said in a statement. “The dot-com bubble was a cake walk compared to this job market.”

Indeed, even in the burst of the dot-com bubble in the late 1990’s, IT salaries were higher than they are now.