One interesting issue in quantum information science is the lack of hiring of theory people by physics departments in the United States over the last few years (by my count, four hires in the last six years.) I think one of the main reasons for why this may be true is that physics departments are still skeptical over the field of quantum computing. For experimentalists, the hiring situation has been better (although, of course, no piece of cake by any measure!) The reason for this, it seems to me, is that experimental people in quantum information science are doing interesting experiments which push the boundaries of experimental physics. It is easier to justify hiring an experimentalist because there is some belief that they will be able to adjust if quantum information begins to fizzle out (I don’t believe it, but apparently a large number of physicists do.) In essence physics departments feel that they experimentalists are a better hedge than theorists.
But lets take a look at this issue from the perspective of the next few years. As quantum computers grow from four and five qubit computers to ten to a hunderd qubit computers, the experimentalists will be in some ways less tied to fundamental physics and more tied to the engineering and technology of the devices they will be building. And there is a another important factor: not all implementations of quantum computers are going to pay off. Thus while hiring an experimentalists who is working for the implementation which really takes off can be a jackpot for a department, hiring one who is working on the implementation which fizzles can leave the department in exactly the position they are supposedly avoiding by not hiring theorists.
Now look at this from the perspective of hiring a theorist. Quantum information theorists are much more immune to which implementation really takes off. Sure, some theorists are more tied to a particular implementation, but, on the other hand the main bulk of theory is done in a way which is independent of any quantum computing platform. Thus quantum information theorists, like those involved in the computer science of software, are in many ways a more robust hire in the long run than an experimentalist.
Of course, this argument is only a small part of the big picture (i.e. what does happen if the field is a fad? what if you do believe you can pick out the best implementation? what if you only care about hiring someone who will have an impact in the next five to ten years?) but it’s certainly an argument which I wish more physics departments would listen to.