Things will be looking up in the information technology job market from now until the end of the year, according to Robert Half Technology’s (RHT) most recent IT Hiring Index and Skills Report, which covers the fourth quarter of 2005. Sixteen percent of the approximately 1,400 chief information officers (CIOs) polled in the study plan to increase IT hiring, 4 percent expect reductions of staff, and the remaining 80 percent believe there will be no change.
These numbers represent the highest net rise—12 percent—in IT hiring since the third quarter of 2002. Business growth was cited as the main reason: Of the CIOs who predict they will add IT personnel this quarter, 36 percent listed corporate expansion as the primary factor behind their decision, while 21 percent said increased customer and end-user support needs would drive the upsurge. “There’s a shift in the marketplace, and companies are starting to hire more,” said Melissa Maffettone, branch manager of RHT’s Ft. Lauderdale office. “There are a lot of in-demand skill sets, and the candidates are starting to be snatched up very quickly.”
One key finding of the study was that networking was the most in-demand professional niche. Under the RHT definition, that’s an umbrella term that covers disciplines such as network security, systems auditing and wireless networking. “There are subsets under networking that we’re really starting to see a lot of growth in,” Maffettone said. “Wireless is starting to enter a lot of marketplaces. That includes making sure networks have the capabilities to support notebooks, tablets PCs, PDAs, smartphones, etc.”
Another hot field is help desk and support, which ranked second only to networking in demand among specialized skills. “When you look at the whole help-desk role, I think a lot of companies are looking at it more strategically,” Maffettone said. “Now that companies are starting to staff up again, the purse strings are being opened a little bit. You’ve got a lot of development projects going on. Whenever you see the development cycle start to pick up, naturally you’re going to see an increase in help desk (hiring and funding) right behind it, because those help-desk professionals are supporting the new software releases.”
As far as industries looking to add IT professionals go, finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) firms are expected to hire the most new staff, Maffettone said. “The FIRE sector is heavily dependent on data. Most of the growth we really see is because of the enormous amount of data that runs through these companies on a day-to-day basis. They have to have IT professionals to help them manage their data, mine it, analyze it and safeguard it. A lot of it goes hand-in-hand with better internal controls that are ultimately needed because of Sarbanes-Oxley.”
For more information, see http://www.rht.com.