CIOs: IT Hiring to Slip Next Quarter

Feb 25, 2003

Dan Orzech

The number of chief information officers planning on adding new IT staff next quarter has fallen from last quarter, according to a just-published survey from IT recruiters Robert Half Technology.

While nine percent of CIOs plan to expand their IT departments next quarter and 5 percent anticipate staff cutbacks, that's down from a net 8 percent increase forecast last quarter.

Most IT executives -- 86 percent -- plan no change in hiring activity, according to the Menlo Park, Calif.,-based staffing firm.

"Many IT executives are keeping hiring plans on hold as a result of continued economic uncertainty," says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology.

IT departments are focused on "reducing expenditures and maximizing the performance of existing systems," she added.

The firm surveyed more than 1,400 CIOs from U.S. companies with 100 or more employees.

Executives from large companies -- those with 1,000 or more employees -- were most optimistic about their hiring plans. Eighteen percent of respondents at these firms said they expect to add personnel, and 6 percent forecast staff reductions.

More than half of the CIOs who are planning on hiring new workers cited business growth as the primary factor driving hiring. Another 16 percent of executives who were adding staff said the primary factor driving new hiring was system upgrades.

Wanted: Help desk support
When asked which technical skill set was most in demand within their IT departments, 28 percent of CIOs cited help desk/end-user support. "Companies nationwide seek technical support specialists who can assist with Windows 2000 or XP migrations and systems upgrades," says Lee.

Networking skills were also in demand, with 23 percent of the respondents saying that was the skill they most needed. For 11 percent of the CIOs, application development was the most sought after speciality.


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