E-commerce Drives Job Growth

Chief information officers (CIOs) anticipate continued strong demand for IT professionals in the second quarter of 2000, according to RHI Consulting's quarterly Information Technology Hiring Index. Twenty-six percent of CIOs surveyed said they intend to hire additional personnel in the next three months, while just 2 percent foresee staff reductions. The net 24 percent increase in hiring activity is up two percentage points from first-quarter 2000 projections.

The national poll includes responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by RHI Consulting, a consulting services firm that provides information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis.

"As companies continue to pursue e-business initiatives, demand for technology professionals who can develop and support Internet-based systems is intensifying," says Greg Scileppi, Executive Director of RHI Consulting. "Nationwide, firms are actively recruiting Web developers, e-commerce specialists and systems integrators to align traditional brick and mortar operations with successful e-commerce models."

Scileppi added that IT managers are continuing to offer competitive hiring packages as a means of attracting and retaining skilled talent. "A growing number of employers are providing benefits, such as flexible work environments and job sharing opportunities, to help employees achieve a better work/life balance. Businesses are also boosting long-term retention rates by investing in career development programs for employees, including customized training and staff mentoring."

Technology executives in the South Atlantic (Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, N. Carolina, S. Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., W. Virginia) region anticipate the nation's strongest hiring activity during the second quarter, according to the survey. Thirty-four percent of CIOs in these states plan to add IT personnel, while 3 percent expect to decrease staff levels. The net 31 percent hiring increase is up four percentage points from the region's first-quarter forecast and is seven points above the national average. "Increased hiring activity in the South Atlantic region is due in part to the area's favorable business climate which includes low corporate development costs and affordable housing," says Scileppi. He notes that rapid growth within Florida's tourism industry, Georgia's business and financial services sector, and North Carolina's technology and financial hubs will continue to drive demand for qualified IT workers who specialize in network engineering and Web-based systems integration. CIOs in both the Mid-Atlantic (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania) and New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont) states also plan strong hiring activity in the second quarter. A net 28 percent increase in hiring is projected in both regions.

Industries Hiring

Chief information officers within the business services industry are most optimistic about technology hiring in the second quarter of 2000 - more than half (51 percent) plan to add staff, while just 5 percent expect cutbacks in personnel. The resulting net 46 percent increase in hiring is up 15 points from the first quarter.

"Businesses in this industry sector are responding to heightened competitive pressure to deliver services via the Internet; therefore, there is widespread demand for specialists in e-business strategy, Java development, network security and UNIX systems management," Scileppi says.

Staffing activity is also expected to exceed the national average in the transportation and professional services industries, where CIOs anticipate net increases in hiring activity of 29 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

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