Careers: CIOs Are Hiring Again

Fully 12 percent of CIOs expect to hire new IT workers in the upcoming quarter

Every quarter, information technology staffing firm Robert Half Technology surveys enterprise CIOs—more than 1,400 of them—to get a feel for their hiring plans in the coming quarter.

The results from Robert Half’s most recent survey were encouraging, with fully 12 percent of CIOs expecting to hire new IT workers in the second quarter, and just 4 percent anticipating reductions. At the same time, however, the latest findings constitute a drop from the quarter just past (in which U.S. firms anticipated a net 12 percent increase in hiring) as well as the year ago quarter (in which U.S. firms anticipated a net 9 percent increase in hiring.)

Of course, the good news for most IT pros is that CIOs seem relatively happy with the status quo. In fact, an overwhelming majority of executives—84 percent—anticipated making no changes in their IT staffing levels over the next quarter.

Not surprisingly, Robert Half found CIOs at companies with 1,000 or more employees were the most optimistic about expanding their IT staffing rolls. For the record, 25 percent of CIOs at large companies plan to hire additional personnel, while just 5 percent anticipate staff reductions. That makes for a net 20 percent increase in hiring activity. Compare that with the outlook of small firms (100 to 249 employees), which anticipate a net 5 percent increase in hiring activity.

All in all, says Katherine Spencer Lee, an executive director with Robert Half Technology, it’s a good time to be an IT professional. “Many CIOs are adding IT personnel gradually to support recent business growth. Competition is rising for professionals skilled in the hottest applications and specialties, and multiple offers are increasingly common.”

Go West North Central, Young Man

For out-of-work IT pros, West North Central is the place to be. CIOs in this region—which includes Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Minnesota, and the Dakotas—lead the nation in hiring optimism, with a net 12 percent of companies expecting to add IT positions during the coming quarter. The Pacific region (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Washington, and Oregon) is still experiencing lackluster IT job growth, with a net 6 percent of CIOs expecting to hire additional employees.

In the past, Robert Half has found that Microsoft-related technology skills are almost always in demand. That looks to be the case in Q2, as well: 81 percent of CIOs said that Windows 2000/XP/2003 skills are most in demand in their IT departments, while 52 percent of CIOs cited wireless network management as their most in-demand skill category. SQL Server management rounded out the top three, with 49 percent of respondents.

More surprising, however (given current trends in outsourcing): help desk and end-user support is the hottest job category within IT departments. Twenty-one percent of CIOs said desktop and end-user support was the job category experiencing the most growth in their IT departments, followed by networking (at 15 percent) and data/database management (at 13 percent).

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.