Careers: Steady as She Goes

There are few bright spots in a new survey of CIO hiring plans.

If there's a bright spot in IT staffing specialist Robert Half Technology's latest survey of CIO hiring plans, it's a glimmer at best.

Robert Half projects a net 4 percent increase in IT hiring, with the overwhelming majority of IT chiefs -- some 90 percent -- anticipating making no moves on the hiring front. Although 7 percent of CIOs anticipate hiring new IT workers, 3 percent plan to trim their IT staffs. Robert Half's Q2 CIO survey projected a net hiring increase of 8 percent.

Half says executives are "optimistic" about business growth -- with confidence levels approaching 90 percent -- although IT chiefs (at 87 percent) are somewhat less optimistic than are their counterparts in other professions.

"Business confidence continues to grow," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International, in a prepared release. "Although some companies remain reluctant to commit to full-time hires, others are actively looking for professionals to help them take advantage of new growth opportunities and enhance client service."

Surprisingly, just over two-fifths (42 percent) of executives say they're having trouble finding talent, possibly because they're trying to fill highly specialized positions.

"Companies are increasingly looking for candidates with specialized skills across a broader array of roles, and job seekers with in-demand expertise are finding opportunities more quickly and becoming increasingly scarce," said Brett Good, senior district president with Robert Half International, in a statement. "Firms also are engaging interim employees to assist with current projects and rising workloads and to evaluate these professionals for potential full-time roles."

Now as ever, network administrators, help-desk support personnel, and Windows administrators are in high demand, according to the Half report.

The company projects outsized growth in the Mid-Atlantic, Mountain, and Pacific regions, with IT hiring expected to increase by 6 percent in all three locales. Hot verticals include manufacturing (with a net 8 percent projected increase in hiring), retail (also at 8 percent), professional services (at 5 percent), and transportation (also at 5 percent).

On the plus side, more than half (55 percent) of IT chiefs say their companies are highly likely to invest in IT projects. That's a 7 percent improvement over Q2.

About the Author

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