Research Points to IT Hiring Surge

While some market watchers claim that 2007 will be tough one for IT budgets, IT outsourcing specialist Robert Half Technology reports more encouraging findings for IT professionals.

For its CIO report, the firm surveys more than 1,400 U.S. CIOs to get a feel for hiring plans in the coming quarter. The projections for the first quarter of 2007 were the most encouraging since 2001, the company’s researchers indicate. Fully 16 percent of U.S. CIOs anticipate adding IT staff over the next three months, while just 2 percent expect to reduce IT staff levels.

“A low unemployment rate, combined with ongoing demand for highly skilled professionals, is resulting in a strong need for IT specialists at all levels,” said Robert Half’s Katherine Spencer Lee, in a statement. “With employers competing for the best talent, recruitment and retention efforts remain priorities for industry executives, especially given anticipated new projects in the coming year.”

What’s driving the hiring surge? Business growth, by all accounts: 35 percent of CIOs who expect to add IT staff in Q1 specifically cited business growth as the most important driver, followed by another 26 percent who cited increased demand for customer or end-user support professionals. Elsewhere, Robert Half confirms, organizations are also adding IT staff to pursue significant projects—such as the installation or development of new enterprise-wide applications. Fully 21 percent of respondents cited this last as an important driver.

As was the case in past Robert Half surveys, Windows administration skills (specifically, Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003) are most in demand, followed by networking-specific skills—especially for Novell Inc. software and Cisco and Nortel gear. Meanwhile, technology executives at firms with 1,000 or more employees seem to be planning the most aggressive expansion: these organizations anticipate (on average) a 23 percent increase in their IT staffing levels.

Finally, CIOs in the transportation industry are most bullish about hiring: 25 percent of chiefs in this sector expect to add personnel, while just 1 percent plan to make reductions.

IT executives in manufacturing are also optimistic: fully 19 percent plan to make personnel additions, while just 1 percent anticipate making reductions, Robert Half researchers noted.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a contributing editor for Enterprise Systems. He can be reached at [email protected].