CIOs Optimistic About Q2 Hiring

Mar 8, 2011

CIO Update Staff

Technology executives forecast continued IT hiring in the second quarter of 2011, according to the just-released Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. In the latest quarterly survey, 9 percent of CIOs said they plan to expand their IT departments, and just 2 percent expect cutbacks, for a net 7 percent increase in hiring.

Key findings:

  • The net 7 percent increase in IT hiring activity is up from a net 5 percent forecast this time one year ago, but down one point from the first-quarter 2011 forecast.
  • 80 percent of CIOs are confident in their company's growth prospects in the next three months.
  • Nearly half of technology executives rated the probability of their firms investing in IT projects in the second quarter a 4 or higher on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the most optimistic.
  • Security and networking professionals are in greatest demand right now.

"Companies recognize that moving ahead with formerly delayed upgrades and implementing new technologies can give them a competitive advantage," said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology, a professional staffing firm. "Firms are investing in projects designed to create business efficiencies and help improve service levels and often need more IT personnel to support these initiatives, particularly if their teams have been understaffed in recent years."

Business growth and IT investments

While 73 percent of CIOs reported being at least somewhat optimistic about the likelihood of their organizations' investing in IT projects in the coming quarter, only 48 percent rated the probability at 4 or higher on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the most optimistic.

Skills in demand

The functional areas in which executives foresee the greatest challenge in finding skilled IT professionals are security and networking, each cited by 13 percent of executives interviewed.

Applications development and help desk/technical support followed, with 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Network administration remains the skill set in greatest demand, cited by 65 percent of CIOs. Windows administration (Server 2000/2003/2008) ranked second, with 60 percent of the response followed by desktop support at 57 percent and database management at 52 percent. (CIOs were allowed multiple responses.)

Regional Outlook

CIOs in the South Atlantic states -- Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia -- are most optimistic about hiring in the second quarter. Fifteen percent of executives plan to add IT staff and just 1 percent expect cutbacks. The net 14 percent increase is seven points higher than the national average.

Industries hiring

The finance, insurance and real estate sector leads all industries in hiring expectations. Seventeen percent of CIOs plan to expand their IT departments and none anticipate staff reductions. Technology executives in the wholesale and health services sectors also anticipate strong hiring activity, each forecasting a net 12 percent increase.

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.

The IT Hiring Index and Skills Report is conducted as part of the Robert Half Professional Employment Report, which tracks hiring trends among professional occupations.

Tags: IT budgets, IT skills, IT staffing, Robert Half Technology, IT hiring,

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