IT Hiring Trends Remain Static

By CIO Update Staff

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According to this quarter's Robert Half Technology (RHT) IT Hiring Index and Skills Report, Most CIOs are hiring but at a slightly more modest level than last quarter and about the same level as this time last year.

The survey found that 12% of CIOs intend to expand their IT departments in Q2 2006, while just four percent plan staff reductions.

The net eight percent hiring increase compares with a net 12% increase forecast last quarter and a net nine percent projected this time last year. The majority of executives surveyed, 84%, anticipate no change in their personnel levels during the next three months.

Key findings of this quarter's survey reveal that:

  • CIOs at the largest firms (1,000 or more employees) forecast the strongest employment growth.
  • Business growth is the primary motivation for adding IT staff.
  • Help desk/end-user support is the hottest job category within IT departments.
  • The West North Central states (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota) lead the nation in hiring optimism.
  • Executives in the retail industry are most optimistic about hiring activity.
  • CIOs at the largest employers are most optimistic about adding IT staff in the second quarter.

    Twenty-five percent of executives at firms with more than 1,000 employees plan to hire additional personnel and just five percent foresee staff reductions, for a net 20% increase in hiring activity.

    This compares to a net five percent increase in hiring activity forecast at the smallest firms (100-249 employees) included in the survey.

    Among CIOs who plan to hire in the second quarter, 40% said corporate expansion is the reason. Twenty-six percent cited increased customer and end-user support needs.

    Skills in Demand

    The technical skill set most in demand within IT departments is Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP) administration (81%); wireless network management (52%); and SQL Server management (49%). Survey respondents were allowed multiple answers.

    When asked which overall job category was experiencing the most growth within their IT departments, the top reply was help desk/end-user support, with 21% of the response. Networking followed at 15% and data/database management was third, with 13% of the response.

    Regional Outlook

    CIOs in the West North Central states forecast the strongest IT hiring activity during the second quarter. Fourteen percent of executives expect to add staff and only two percent anticipate personnel cutbacks. The net 12% increase is four percentage points above the national average.

    Notable employment growth also is forecast in the New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont). Fourteen percent of CIOs plan to expand their IT departments and just three percent expect staff reductions, for a net 11% hiring increase.

    Industries Hiring

    Technology executives in the retail sector are most optimistic about hiring in the second quarter of 2006. Nineteen percent of CIOs in this industry plan to expand their IT departments and only three percent expect personnel cutbacks. The net 16% hiring increase is eight points above the national average.

    Strong hiring activity also is expected in the wholesale and transportation sectors. CIOs in each of these industries forecast a net 11% hiring increase.

    Survey Methodology

    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 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.

    This news brief was edited by CIO Update staff and taken from a RHT press release issued 3/8/06.