CIOs Anticipate Solid Hiring Activity in First Quarter

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<p><strong>Menlo Park, Calif. &mdash; Dec. 27</strong><br />Thirteen percent of chief information officers (CIOs) plan to add information technology (IT) staff and 3 percent anticipate personnel reductions in the first quarter of 2008, according to the latest Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. The net 10 percent hiring increase compares with a net 12 percent increase projected last quarter. The majority of respondents, 82 percent, foresee no change in their staffing activity in the next three months.<br /><br />The Hiring Index and Skills Report is based on interviews with 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 Robert Half Technology, 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.<br /><br /><strong>Key Findings</strong><br /><br />&bull;    Windows administration (Server 2000/2003) skills are in greatest demand in IT departments.<br />&bull;    Networking is the hottest job category for the second straight quarter.<br />&bull;    CIOs in the Middle Atlantic (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania) and West South Central (Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas) states are the most optimistic about hiring plans.<br />&bull;    Business services firms lead all industries in hiring expectations.<br /><br />&ldquo;Companies are investing in a range of technology initiatives, including Web 2.0 development, wireless communication and network security,&rdquo; said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. &ldquo;Firms recruiting IT professionals to support these projects are looking for talent with the right mix of technical expertise, industry-specific experience and soft skills.&rdquo;<br /><br />Twenty-seven percent of CIOs polled said business growth is the leading reason for expanding their IT departments. Increased need for customer and/or end-user support (20 percent), and the management of systems upgrades (19 percent) were also cited as leading factors.<br /><br /><strong>Skills in Demand  </strong><br /><br />Windows administration is the most sought-after technical skill set in IT departments, according to 74 percent of CIOs polled. Network administration (Cisco, Nortel) was cited by 70 percent of respondents, followed by database management (Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server) at 59 percent and firewall administration at 54 percent. (Note: CIOs surveyed were allowed multiple responses.)<br /><br />For the second consecutive quarter, executives ranked networking as the job category experiencing the most growth, with 19 percent of the response. This was followed by help desk/end-user support at 14 percent and applications development at 12 percent.<br /><br /><strong>Regional Outlook</strong><br /><br />CIOs in the Middle Atlantic states anticipate the greatest hiring activity in the first quarter. Twenty percent of executives expect to add IT staff and 3 percent forecast personnel cutbacks, for a net 17 percent hiring increase. &ldquo;Web developers are in particular demand in the region, as companies require engineers to launch new online initiatives and enhance existing applications.&rdquo;<br /><br />The West South Central states also are expected to see strong employment gains. Sixteen percent of CIOs plan to expand their IT departments and none expect staff reductions, for a net 16 percent hiring increase. &ldquo;Businesses in the area are investing in systems and application upgrades, which is creating a need for additional IT staff.&rdquo;<br /><br />Robert Half Technology 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<br /><br /><strong>Industries Hiring</strong><br /><br />Technology executives in the business services sector are most optimistic about hiring in the first three months of the year. Twenty percent of CIOs plan to add IT staff and 2 percent foresee personnel cutbacks, for a net 18 percent increase.<br /><br />Notable hiring gains also are forecast in the finance, insurance and real estate industries, where executives anticipate a net 16 percent increase; CIOs in the transportation sector expect a net 14 percent increase; and they are followed by professional services and retail at 12 percent each. </p>

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