Report: CIOs Will Take Conservative Approach to Hiring

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."

According to the report, 6% of chief information officers (CIOs) plan to expand their information technology (IT) teams and 6% anticipate staff reductions in the final months of 2009. The majority of respondents, 86%, foresee no changes in personnel levels.

Among the report's 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 Menlo Park, Calif.-based 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."

The largest companies (1,000 or more employees) expect the strongest hiring activity. According to the report, 11% of technology executives at large firms plan to add staff and 7% anticipate personnel reductions, for a net 4% hiring increase, which is four points above the national average.

When asked which technical skill sets are most in demand in their IT departments, 69% of technology executives cited network administration, while 64% cited desktop support and 61% 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% of the response each. Applications development was cited by 9% of CIOs, according to the report.

The quarterly 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.

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