IT Pros, What Can You Expect in 2011?
Hiring in the information technology field will increase in the first quarter, according to the recently released “Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report.” In the latest survey, 11 percent of CIOs said they plan to add IT staff in the first three months of the year, and just 3 percent foresee cutbacks. The net 8 percent increase in hiring activity is up 5 points from the fourth-quarter forecast.
The survey also found that 84 percent of CIOs are at least somewhat confident in their companies’ growth prospects in the first quarter. In addition, more than half (54 percent) of executives said it is very or somewhat challenging to find skilled IT professionals today.
Here are some of the key findings of the “IT Hiring Index and Skills Report,” which was based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the U.S. with 100 or more employees:
• The net 8 percent increase in projected IT hiring activity for the first quarter is the highest in one year and up 5 points from the prior quarter’s forecast.
• Eighty-four percent of CIOs are at least somewhat confident in their companies' growth prospects in the first quarter; 35 percent are very confident.
• More than half (54 percent) of CIOs expect to encounter recruiting challenges in the quarter ahead.
• Network administration is the most highly sought area of expertise for job candidates, as it has been for the last four quarters of the survey.
“As companies maximize operational efficiencies and strive to make information more accessible, they rely on their IT departments,” said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “As a result, CIOs are reinitiating previously deferred projects and are more willing to invest in augmenting their teams.”
Confidence in Business Growth and IT Investments
Eighty-three percent of technology executives said they are at least somewhat optimistic about their firms’ likelihood of investing in IT projects in the coming quarter; 42 percent rated the probability at 4 or higher on a 5-point scale.
Skills in Demand
The functional area in which executives foresee the most challenges in finding skilled professionals is networking, cited by 17 percent of executives. This was followed by security and software development, with 16 percent and 11 percent of the response, respectively.
The technical skill set most in demand within IT departments for a majority of CIOs (65 percent) is network administration. Windows administration ranked second, with 61 percent of the response, followed by desktop support and database management, garnering 59 percent and 54 percent of the response, respectively.
The West South Central and East North Central states are expected to see the greatest amount of hiring activity in the first quarter, with a net 12 percent of CIOs in each region planning to add full-time IT professionals.
CIOs in the health services industry are most likely to hire in the first quarter. Eighteen percent of executives in this sector plan to expand their IT departments, and none foresee staff reductions. Companies in the health care industry say it is most difficult to find skilled software developers, followed by networking and security professionals.
Professional services is another sector with hiring expectations above the national average. Thirteen percent of CIOs anticipate adding staff and 2 percent expect to reduce personnel, for a net 11 percent increase in hiring activity.