Veritude: Temp-to-Perm Hiring and Demand for Specialized Skills Remain High

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<strong>Boston &mdash; Jan. 29</strong><br />According to a new research report, "2009 IT Hiring Outlook," released by staffing services provider Veritude, overall anticipated IT hiring decreased significantly between Q2 and Q4 of 2008, while finding qualified IT candidates still remains a top staffing challenge. <br /><br />In early 2008, Veritude conducted primary research by polling HR and IT professionals involved with hiring IT staff to identify and understand IT staffing trends. In Q4 of 2008, Veritude conducted the same survey with the same methodology to discover how these trends have fared considering the dramatic economic changes through the year and to understand the IT hiring outlook for 2009. <br /><br />In contrast to the bullish Q2 results, by the end of 2008, 38 percent of respondents said IT staff decreases were planned. Reflecting the current economic downturn, budget restraints and corporate layoffs were the most cited reasons for these decreases in IT hiring. Most notably, diminished need for IT personnel was not cited as a reason; in fact, while IT hiring is decreasing, the need remains the same. As a result, fewer permanent hires and diminishing budgets are driving increased reliance on contract or temporary workers, as well as temp-to-perm staff. <br /><strong><br />Shifting Economic Conditions, Dynamic IT Hiring Requirements </strong><br />The number of respondents who plan to hire temp-to-perm IT staff more than doubled, from just 27 percent in early 2008 to 56 percent by the end of the year. Because temp-to-perm hires give companies more flexibility and reduce hiring risk, the majority with the option of hiring contract or temporary workers (50 percent) see the value in this prospect, especially in light of current economic trends. <br /><strong><br />Significant Hiring Challenges</strong> <br />Despite the recent unanticipated influx of job candidates, finding qualified candidates (skills, cultural fit, etc.) remains the top IT hiring challenge (53 percent) as 2009 begins. The availability of those individuals with in-demand and difficult-to-find IT skills changed only slightly. However, a significant change from early 2008 to 2009 is the increased need for programming language skills, doubling from 15 percent to 30 percent. <br /><br />Remaining high in demand are business intelligence and enterprise solutions skills, which highlights the continuing need for companies to make effective use of business-focused, strategic IT positions to remain competitive in the current challenging economic environment. <br /><br />Whether it is ferreting out the perfect passive candidate in a tight market or convincing a star to leave a secure position to go with a new employer, finding qualified candidates is a consistent challenge when the labor supply is tight, as well as when it is abundant. One survey respondent commented, "With the increasing unemployment rate, there are more candidates to sift through." <br /><br />However, a significant number of respondents in Q4 (36 percent) indicated offering a competitive salary still remained a challenge for companies, indicating that overall budget and salary cutbacks might be canceling out any advantages resulting from a less competitive labor market. In fact, 66 percent said their IT hiring challenges remained the same despite economic changes. <br /><br />Most respondents (74 percent in Q4) with staffing needs will use or will consider using a staffing provider, perhaps because awareness of the advantages has grown. "[The] provider has recruiting or industry experience that we don&#39;t have in-house," commented one responder. There was an increase in the number of respondents who value a provider&#39;s ability to manage changing workforce demands (up from 8 percent to 15 percent), as well as an appreciation of the ability of HR to focus on more strategic initiatives (up from four to 12 percent). <br /><br />"Fewer hires and budget cuts mean that making smart hires the first time is absolutely critical. Companies need to rethink the composition of their workforces and explore new ways of getting the job done," commented Tom Hart, executive vice president of Veritude. <br /><br />"Veritude can be the key to overcoming these challenges. As the economy continues to fluctuate, our ability to provide more flexible solutions with less administrative burden and financial risk has become increasingly important to HR and IT hiring managers." <br />

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