But, unlike the dot-com boom, companies are taking a cautious approach to hiring. They are making sure they have a long-term, sustainable need for full-time employees before adding additional IT staff. Many are turning to project professionals for assistance with short-term initiatives and peak workloads.
Competition is greatest for IT professionals who possess a mix of strong technical, communication, negotiation and business skills. Firms are recruiting IT staff who can provide input on ways to increase productivity and gain competitive advantage.
When it comes to specific expertise, the our IT Hiring and Skills Report indicates that businesses are most in need of networking staff. Nineteen percent of the 1,400 CIOs polled cited it as the top, in-demand position, followed by help desk/end-user support specialists (15%), applications developers (12%) and data/database managers (11%).
Eighty-one percent said Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP) administration expertise was the most desired skill set.
Our research shows that companies are actively hiring due to a number of factors, including:
Hiring and compensation practices are changing as a result of the growing number of companies implementing the these initiatives. With increased competition for top talent, many organizations are finding it necessary to accelerate their candidate screening processes to secure the best applicants.
In addition, managers are frequently discovering that their top candidates are already evaluating multiple job offers. Companies are increasing salaries to help attract employees and keep existing ones.
Recruitment activity in 2006 will be brisk in many specialties. Businesses that take note of the employment trends in the marketplace and adjust their hiring strategies accordingly will be in the best position to land qualified IT staff in the coming year and beyond.
Katherine Spencer Lee is executive director of Robert Half Technology, a provider of IT professionals for initiatives ranging from e-business development and multi-platform systems integration to network engineering and technical support. Robert Half Technology has more than 100 locations in the North America and Europe, and offers online job search services at www.roberthalftechnology.com.