CIOs 'Cautious' About Q3 Hiring - Page 1

May 25, 2004

CIO Update Staff

CIOs interviewed recently for the Robert Half Technology Information Technology Hiring Index and Skills Report were cautious about their third-quarter hiring intentions.

Eight-percent of executives expect to add IT staff and three percent plan personnel cutbacks. The net five percent hiring increase compares with a net nine-percent increase forecast last quarter, when results hit their highest level in nearly two years.

The majority of executives, 88%, plan to maintain existing staff levels.

The national poll includes responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies 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

  • Business expansion continues to be the leading factor driving IT hiring, cited by 51% of executives. This marks the third consecutive quarter of growth in this category.
  • Microsoft Windows administration remains the skill set most in demand by CIOs.
  • Technology executives at the largest companies are most optimistic about IT hiring plans.
  • The strongest employment growth is forecast in the West North Central and Mid-Atlantic regions.
  • "Businesses that overstaffed and experienced layoffs during the recession are taking a more strategic and measured approach to hiring today, said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology.

    "Many managers are initiating projects previously on hold due to budget constraints. However, they are carefully analyzing their requirements before adding full-time IT employees and relying on project professionals for short-term demands."

    Lee added that candidates who possess a combination of advanced technical expertise, "soft" skills such industry experience and business acumen, are beginning to receive multiple offers, prompting firms to expedite the hiring process in some cases.

    Fifty-one percent of CIOs planning to add staff in the third quarter cited business growth as the primary motivator. This compares to 46% of respondents who said business expansion was the leading reason for adding staff in the second quarter and 37% who gave this response in the first-quarter. Systems upgrades and a need for increased customer and end-user support followed, each receiving 13% of the response.

    Technology executives at companies with more than 1,000 employees foresee the strongest employment gains during the third quarter. Eighteen percent of CIOs at these firms plan to expand their IT departments and three percent plan reductions, for a net 15% hiring increase.

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