CIOs: IT Hiring to Increase Next Quarter

By Dan Orzech

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Chief information officers expect to hire more IT professionals next quarter, according to a survey by recruiting firm Robert Half Technology.

The poll, of more than 1,400 CIOs at U.S. companies with more than 100 employees, revealed that ten percent of executives surveyed plan to add IT workers in the third quarter of 2003, while three percent anticipate staff reductions. That?s up three points from the second-quarter forecast.

The CIOs cited business expansion or a desire to improve customer support as the primary drivers for new hiring

"The hiring climate overall remains conservative," says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "However, some firms are moving forward with systems upgrades that were previously on hold, particularly those designed to enhance customer service or achieve greater operational efficiencies."

Under pressure from reduced IT budgets, more companies are trying out workers first before hiring them as full-time employees, by bringing them on as contractors, and then converting them to full-time employees if satisfied with their performance, says Lee.

Midsize companies -- those with between 250 to 499 employees -- expect to add the largest number of new works, according to the survey. Thirteen percent of respondents at these firms said they expect to add personnel and 3 percent forecast staff reductions.

Workers with Microsoft Windows or Cisco networking skills are most in demand, according to the survey. Eighty percent of the CIOs reported demand for experienced Windows NT, 2000 or XP administrators. Thirty eight percent identified Cisco networking administrators as another sought-after specialty.