CIOs aren't throwing caution to the wind when it comes to hiring information technology professionals, however they are expecting a modest uptick in the first quarter of 2005, according to the Robert Half Technology IT hiring Index and Skills Report.
The report, which includes responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from U.S. companies with more than 100 employees, found that 11% of executives plan to add IT staff and 2% anticipate cutbacks. The net 9% hiring increase is up three percentage points from the previous quarter's forecast and six percentage points ahead of the year-ago projection.
"Companies continue to take a slow and steady approach to hiring," says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology, a global provider of IT professionals. "Firms are adding full-time employees only when there is a vital need, such as developers who can customize applications or business analysts who can evaluate IT requirements and align them with organizational goals. Employers aren't willing to risk layoffs by expanding their teams too quickly."
Of the CIOs that are hiring, 41% cited business growth as the reason for adding more staff. For 26%, increased customer and end-user IT support was the deciding factor.
As for what skills are in demand, 46% of respondents said Microsoft Windows administration skills; 15% cited checkpoint firewall administration; another 15% cited wireless network management.
"Business also are focusing on staff retention as turnover becomes a greater concern," adds Lee. "Technology professionals who were afraid to risk changing jobs in an uncertain economy may be more open to new opportunities as conditions improve."
Robert Half Technology