Careers: Surge in IT Hiring to Approach Double Digits in Q4

All things considered, the IT hiring outlook is extremely positive. That's the most important takeaway of a recent IT hiring survey.

Things are looking up for IT professions on the IT hiring front. IT staffing specialist Robert Half Technology projects a net 6 percent uptick in IT hiring in Q3. That's up -- by 50 percent -- from the company's previous Q3 projection, which anticipated a net 4 percent increase in hiring. It's also up (by about one-third) from its Q2 projection.

All things considered, the IT hiring outlook is extremely positive, and that's the biggest takeaway from Robert Half's quarterly IT Hiring Index and Skills Report.

The Q4 edition -- which is based on interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs -- paints an almost rosy IT employment picture.

"Business confidence continues to grow," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International -- Robert Half Technology's parent company -- in a statement. "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."

Three months ago, the overwhelming majority of CIOs -- 90 percent -- planned to stand pat, personnel-wise. This time around, a majority -- an overwhelming majority -- are still standing pat, but almost one-fifth (80 percent) plan to make changes of some kind. According to Robert Half's survey data, the bulk of these changes will involve additions, not subtractions.

IT chiefs also say they're having more trouble finding skilled IT professionals: two thirds (a full 66 percent) of respondents described recruiting IT skills as either "Very" or "Somewhat" challenging.

That's a rise of 18 percentage points from Q3.

IT pros with network administration, database development, and help-desk and/or support skills are the most in demand, according to Robert Half. This isn't new. All three skill categories -- with a few substitutions (e.g., skills in Windows administration) -- tend to be in demand from one quarter to the next.

Robert Half likewise cited cloud computing and mobile development projects as key drivers for fourth-quarter hiring. "[D]emand for skilled IT professionals is driven by the need to keep hardware and software systems up to date, as well as support the growing use of cloud computing, mobile application development, and other evolving technologies," the report said.

IT hiring looks to be most robust in the transportation (with a net 18 percent gain), business services (net 12 percent gain), and wholesale (net 10 percent gain) industries. Regionally, the Mid-Atlantic looks to outpace other locales, with a net 12 percent projected gain. However, the East-South-Central, Mountain, and South Atlantic regions are all on track for 8 percent growth, which would outpace Robert Half's projections for IT hiring as a whole.

About the Author

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