Thirteen percent of chief information officers forecast that they’ll add IT staff in the fourth quarter of this year, while only 3 percent anticipate decreases, according to Robert Half Technology’s most recent IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. The study involved opinions on hiring trends from more than 1,400 CIOs at companies of various sizes and industries.
According to the report, the increases in hiring are the result of solid business growth and rising awareness of new trends like customer relationship management.
“There’s a whole lot of business growth and business change happening across technology right now,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “As technology gets better, faster and stronger, there are a lot of organizations that are looking at new technologies and new ways to utilize information. We’ve seen a big uptick in things like data mining and business intelligence. Look at the retail space, for example. Right now, they’re getting ready to go into their golden quarter. They’ll ask, ‘If someone buys something online from us, how can we get them to buy two things instead of one?’”
There are a few surprises in the study, including the fact that help desk and support professionals are in the greatest demand in the United States. Lee said this was the result of a surge of new product releases.
“We’ve seen a lot of organizations roll out new technologies,” she said. “We have a lot of clients right now that are rolling out new systems, desktops, laptops, PDAs and so forth. They’re going more toward wireless and switching over to terminal server. Any time you roll out new technologies, you need to have the help desk experience and skills set to answer user questions, whether they be client users or internal client users. We still see organizations outsourcing or offshoring tasks within the IT environment, but we’re also seeing companies keep them onshore too because of level-of-service or security issues.”
Another revelation is that the strongest gains in technology hiring are expected to come from the construction industry, which could face a possible slowdown because of falling housing prices.
“I’m not an economist, so I can’t necessarily speak to the state of the economy or housing,” Lee said. “What I can tell you is oftentimes in technology, CIOs invest for one of two reasons. One reason will be growth of their sector and the need to handle new projects. The second reason they’ll invest is when they have a situation where they have to do more with less. Sometimes that predicates doing more with technology. It could be an increase in IT because of a tightening elsewhere, and they’re looking for IT to pick up some of the slack from a productivity perspective.”
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