CIOs remain optimistic about IT hiring in the second quarter, according to the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report.
Twelve percent of executives polled plan to add full-time IT staff in the next three months while just three percent anticipate personnel cutbacks. The net nine percent increase matches forecasts in the previous and year-ago quarters.
''Firms are hiring again, but only after clearly defining their requirements and making sure there is a sustainable need for more full-time IT professionals,'' said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology.
''As the economy improves, the job market is slowly shifting in the candidate's favor. Businesses that may have found it easy to recruit IT staff a year or two ago are discovering there is now greater competition for the most-qualified applicants.''
Among CIOs who plan to hire in the second quarter, 35 percent said corporate growth or expansion is the primary reason. Twenty percent cited increased customer and/or end-user support needs, and 19 percent said hiring activity was being fueled by the installation or development of new enterprise-wide applications.
In Demand Skills
When asked which technical skill sets were needed most within their IT departments, 83 percent of CIOs reported demand for Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP) administration expertise. Wireless network management was cited by 51% of respondents, followed closely by SQL Server management at 49 percent. (CIOs surveyed were allowed multiple responses.)
When technology executives were asked which specialties were most in demand in their departments, 20 percent said networking. Internet/intranet development was ranked second with 14 percent of the response, and help desk/end-user support and applications development each received 13 percent of the response.
The Mountain states are expected to lead the nation in IT hiring activity during the second quarter. Twenty-five percent of CIOs expect to add employees and just three percent projected personnel cutbacks. The net 22 percent increase is up 14 points from last quarter and is 13 points above the national average.
''Companies in the region are beginning to upgrade outdated systems and implement projects that were previously put on hold,'' Lee said. ''Many are striving to improve the efficiency of data access and flow, which is creating very strong demand for applications developers familiar with Microsoft .NET and Java.''
CIOs in the East South Central states also forecast notable employment gains in the second quarter. Twenty-one percent of technology executives in this region plan to expand their IT departments and only one percent anticipate staff reductions. The net 20 percent hiring increase is up 14 points from the previous quarter.