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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.