CIOs Report on Fourth-Quarter Hiring Expectations

Menlo Park, Calif. — Sept. 11

Technology executives expect to take a conservative approach to hiring in the final months of the year, according to the fourth-quarter Robert Half Technology “IT Hiring Index and Skills Report.” Six percent of chief information officers (CIOs) plan to expand their information technology (IT) teams and 6 percent anticipate staff reductions. The majority of respondents, 86 percent, foresee no changes in personnel levels.

The “IT Hiring Index and Skills Report” is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis.

Key Findings
• The New England and South Atlantic regions of the United States are most optimistic about hiring.
• Technology executives in the business services sector anticipate the greatest need for IT professionals.
• Network administration skills remain in demand.
• CIOs at the largest companies (1,000 or more employees) plan the most hiring activity.
• The primary reason given for personnel cutbacks is companywide layoffs.

“Businesses are cautious about adding employees, especially if they’re watching budgets for the remainder of the year,” said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Companies that are hiring seek candidates with diverse skill sets who can help teams operate with fewer resources. Employers are willing to invest greater time in the recruiting process to find individuals who meet all of their criteria.”

Managers planning to add personnel also appear more confident about their ongoing staffing needs. Among those CIOs who said they will hire in the fourth quarter, 61 percent said they would be hiring full-time employees, up from 52 percent in the third quarter. Nine percent of respondents will be adding a combination of full-time and contract or project workers.

The largest companies (1,000 or more employees) expect the strongest hiring activity. Eleven percent of technology executives at large firms plan to add staff and 7 percent anticipate personnel reductions, for a net 4 percent hiring increase, which is four points above the national average.

Forty-seven percent of CIOs planning to decrease staff in the fourth quarter cited companywide layoffs as the reason, up from 37 percent last quarter. Twenty-seven percent said reduced IT budgets are the case.

Skills in Demand
When asked which technical skill sets are most in demand in their IT departments, 69 percent of technology executives cited network administration. Sixty-four percent cited desktop support and 61 percent identified a need for Windows administration expertise. (Note: CIOs were allowed multiple responses.)

Help desk/technical support and networking are the two job areas experiencing the most growth, with 18 percent of the response each. Applications development was cited by 9 percent of CIOs.

Regional Outlook
IT hiring activity in the New England and South Atlantic states is expected to outpace the rest of the country in the next three months. CIOs from each region cited a net 4 percent increase in projected hiring.

Eight percent of CIOs in the New England region plan to expand their IT departments and 4 percent expect personnel reductions. Technology executives in the New England states reported an increased need for customer/end-user support as a key driver of hiring activity.

Seven percent of CIOs in the South Atlantic area plan to add employees and 3 percent foresee staff cutbacks. Hiring activity in the South Atlantic region is being fueled by corporate growth or expansion, survey results show.

The East South Central and Middle Atlantic states also forecast IT employment growth above the national average. Technology executives in both regions anticipate a net 3 percent increase in IT hiring.

Industries Hiring
CIOs in the business services sector are most optimistic about hiring activity in the fourth quarter. Twenty percent plan to add staff and 3 percent expect personnel reductions, for a net increase of 17 percent.

The transportation, communications and utilities sector expects to see notable staffing activity, as well. Thirteen percent of CIOs plan to add IT employees and 2 percent forecast personnel reductions, for a net increase of 11 percent.

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