IT Hiring Managers Moving Cautiously

August 26, 2004 ( - No one could mistake the IT job situation in coming months as a hiring boom.

A net 6% of chief information officers (CIO) in a recent poll said they were bringing on more staff during the October to December 2004 period (9% adding staff; 3% cutting workers), according to the Robert Half Technology Information Technology Hiring Index and Skills Report.

Hall said the net hiring increase is up 1% from the third-quarter forecast and up 1% from the same period a year ago.

“Many companies are beginning to staff up again after cutting budgets deeply during the recession,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “However, firms are being cautious and selective, hiring only those IT professionals who are essential to their long-term needs and who meet all of their job requirements. Organizations also are bringing in technology talent on a project basis to help immediately address rising workloads and support new initiatives.”

Some 37% of CIOs who plan to add staff in the fourth quarter attributed the move to corporate growth or expansion while 17% listed increased customer and end-user support and systems upgrades (16%). Forty percent of those hiring said they will be concentrating their efforts on staff-level positions.

Looking at the size of those companies hiring, IT hiring activity will be driven primarily by the nation’s largest employers, according to the survey. CIOs at businesses with 1,000 or more employees forecast a net 12% hiring increase in the fourth quarter, and executives at firms with 500-999 employees project a net 9% hiring boost.

When asked which technical skill sets were in shortest supply in their IT departments, eight of 10 CIOs reported a need for Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP) administration. Cisco network administration and Checkpoint firewall administration were the second most popular skill sets, each with 51% of the response. SQL Server management was cited by 48% of executives.

The West, North, and Central states – which led the nation in hiring optimism last quarter – once again anticipate strong employment gains. Some 10% of technology executives plan to add staff during the fourth quarter and just 1% forecast personnel reductions.

The South, Atlantic, and Pacific regions also expect IT hiring activity to beat the national average during the last three months of the year. CIOs in the South Atlantic states project a net 8% hiring increase, while technology executives in the Pacific region forecast a net 7%.

The national poll includes responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from a sample of US companies with 100 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology. For more information, go to .