Despite Recession, IT Still in Demand

In the midst of soaring unemployment rates and staff cutbacks, IT departments seem to be holding their own. However, a sense of uncertainty continues to permeate the industry.

“A lot of companies are scaling back on IT budgets, but it’s not quite the gloom and doom that is pervasive in the media,” said John Estes, vice president of strategic alliances at Robert Half Technology. “We’re seeing that there’s still demand for the existing maintenance of IT departments and IT projects, and companies are still willing to spend money on new applications if there’s return on investment [or] if they feel like they can gain a competitive edge.”

Even the need for highly qualified IT professionals remains steady. In fact, according to the “IT Hiring Index and Skills Report” developed by Robert Half Technology, 12 percent of CIO respondents said they plan to expand their IT departments in the first quarter of 2009, while only 4 percent expect staff cutbacks.

“People don’t realize that the vast majority of the IT budget goes to maintain existing applications. So if you start cutting people, you’re at risk not only of not being able to grow, but also not being able to serve your customers, [including] your internal customers — people in the company who need access to the network or applications,” Estes said.

Still, the present economic situation necessitates that IT professionals take a proactive approach to safeguarding their jobs. And the key is to be a jack of all trades, Estes said.…


Deanna Hartley

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