Seventeen percent of executives surveyed plan to add IT staff in the next three months and just two percent foresee personnel cutbacks. The net 15% increase, the highest since the fourth quarter of 2001, is up three percentage points from the previous quarter's projection.
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 RHT, a provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis. The company has been tracking IT hiring activity in the United States since 1995.
"In the course of expanding operations, many companies are investing in technology initiatives that require IT professionals with a range of development and support skills," said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of RHT in a statement. "This has intensified competition for top talent, prompting firms to expedite their hiring processes and devote greater resources to attracting and retaining employees."
Thirty-nine percent of CIOs who plan to hire said corporate growth or expansion is the primary factor driving their need for more staff. Twenty-seven percent cited demand for increased customer and/or end-user support. The installation or development of new enterprise-wide applications, and systems upgrades each received 12% of the response.
Skills in Demand
Microsoft Windows administration (Server 2000/2003) remains the most sought-after skill set; cited by 79% of executives polled. Network administration (Cisco, Nortel) received 72% of the response, followed by database management (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2) at 64%. (Note: CIOs surveyed were allowed multiple responses.)
The overall job category experiencing the most growth is help desk/end-user support; cited by 21% of CIOs surveyed. Other positions in demand included networking (14%), applications development (11%) and data/database management (11%).
Technology executives in the Pacific states are most optimistic about hiring in the third quarter. Twenty-one percent plan to expand their IT departments and just one percent anticipate personnel reductions.
The net 20% increase is up four percentage points from the region's second-quarter forecast and is five percentage points above the national average.
"On the West Coast, existing firms and emerging companies alike are enhancing services and upgrading technologies," Lee continued. "This has resulted in high demand for skilled IT professionals, especially systems administrators, database professionals, and web and applications programmers."
Employment gains for the Middle Atlantic (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania) and New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) states also are expected to exceed the national average with CIOs in both regions anticipate a net 19% hiring increase.
RHT has conducted additional CIO interviews in major metropolitan areas to provide more detailed analyses of IT hiring trends in these markets. The local results are available at RHT's press room at the bottom of the press release regarding this survey.
CIOs in the wholesale sector forecast the most robust hiring activity in the third quarter. Twenty-four percent of CIOs from this segment plan to add IT staff and none foresee personnel cutbacks. Respondents from the wholesale sector indicated their greatest need is for database management and administration skills (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2), as well as Windows administration (Server 2000/2003) expertise.
Technology executives in the retail and transportation industries also anticipate solid employment gains. Executives in each sector project a net 16% hiring increase in the next three months.