CIOs Anticipate More IT Hiring in Third Quarter

Survey Marks Third Straight Quarter of Increased Plans to Add Staff

Jun 08, 2010, 08:00 ET from Robert Half Technology

MENLO PARK, Calif., June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Information technology (IT) recruitment activity is expected to gain momentum in the third quarter, according to the latest Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. Ten percent of chief information officers (CIOs) plan to expand their IT departments and 4 percent foresee personnel cutbacks, for a net 6 percent increase in hiring. Additionally, eighty-one percent of CIOs said they are confident in their companies' growth prospects in the third quarter.

The IT Hiring Index and Skills Report is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis.

Key Findings

  • The net 6 percent increase is up four points from the third quarter a year ago.
  • The Middle Atlantic(1) and West South Central(2) regions anticipate the most active IT hiring.
  • Eighty-one percent of CIOs are confident in their companies' growth prospects in the third quarter.
  • Networking skills remain in high demand among employers.

"Many technology executives are feeling optimistic enough about business conditions to add personnel," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Companies that cut staff levels or implemented hiring freezes during the downturn are realizing they need employees now to help upgrade IT systems and prepare their firms for potential growth."

In another recent survey by Robert Half Technology, 64 percent of CIOs polled said that understaffing in their company's IT department interferes at least somewhat with their ability to implement innovative or emerging technologies.

Confidence in Business Growth and IT Investment

When asked to rate how confident they are in their organizations' growth prospects in the third quarter, 81 percent of technology executives said they are very or somewhat confident. This is up two points from the second quarter. Forty percent of CIOs said they are optimistic about their firms' likelihood of investing in IT projects in the next three months.

Recruitment and Retention

As hiring activity increases, so do worries among CIOs about retaining key players on their teams. Thirty-four percent of technology executives said they are concerned about losing top IT performers to other job opportunities in the next year, up from 31 percent last quarter. Forty-three percent also reported that it is challenging to find skilled IT professionals today.

Skills in Demand

The functional area that was cited as most challenging to fill was skilled networking, cited by 19 percent of executives, followed by applications development and security, at 12 percent each. Software development, database management and help desk/technical support each earned 9 percent of the response.

When asked which technical skill set is most in demand within their IT departments, CIOs ranked network administration first (58 percent). Desktop support came in second with 55 percent of executives citing this skill as in demand, followed by Windows administration (Server 2000/2003/2008) at 51 percent. (Note: CIOs were allowed multiple responses.)

Regional Outlook

The Middle Atlantic and West South Central states are expected to lead the country in hiring activity in the third quarter. Eleven percent of CIOs in the Middle Atlantic region plan to add IT staff and 2 percent forecast personnel reductions, for a net 9 percent increase. Technology executives in the region report notable demand for IT professionals with desktop support skills. Eighty-seven percent are confident in their companies' growth prospects in the next three months, which is six points above the national average.

In the West South Central states, 12 percent of CIOs expect to expand their IT departments and 3 percent foresee staff cutbacks, for a net 9 percent increase. Forty-five percent of technology executives in this region said they feel positive about investments in IT projects in the third quarter, compared to the national average of 40 percent.

Industries Hiring

Business services is one of two sectors with the most optimistic hiring plans for the third quarter. Nineteen percent of CIOs in this industry expect to add IT staff and 3 percent project personnel reductions, for a net 16 percent increase in hiring. Technology executives noted a particular need for help desk/technical support professionals.

CIOs in the construction sector also forecast a net 16 percent increase in hiring. Sixteen percent of executives plan to expand their IT departments and none foresee staff cutbacks. Construction firms are actively recruiting software developers, including individuals with solid database skills.

Other industries with hiring expectations above the national average include the wholesale sector. Fifteen percent of CIOs expect to add staff and 3 percent anticipate personnel reductions, for a net increase of 12 percent. Retail and healthcare followed with nets of 8 percent each.

About the Survey

The quarterly IT Hiring Index and Skills Report was developed by Robert Half Technology and conducted by an independent research firm. First published in 1995, the study is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CIOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. In order for the study to be statistically representative and ensure that companies from all segments were represented, the sample was stratified by geographic region, industry and number of employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper number of employees within each region. The margin of error for this study is +/-2.6 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About Robert Half Technology

With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at www.rht.com.

(1) New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania

(2) Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas

SOURCE Robert Half Technology



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