IT Hiring Slowdown Forecast for Second Quarter

February 25, 2003 ( - It may be a tad harder for information technology (IT) workers to land a new job during the April to June 2003 time period.

Some 9% of those polled in a new Robert Half Technology study said they planned to beef up their tech unit, while 5% planned cutbacks. The net 4% hiring increase compares with a net 8% hike forecast during the first quarter. Nearly nine of 10 executives said they planned to leave IT alone.

Among those doing IT hiring, more than half (54%) said they needed more techies because of business growth, while 16% had to have more help because of systems upgrades. Executives from large companies, those with 1,000 or more employees, were most optimistic about their hiring plans. Some 18% of respondents at these firms said they expect to add personnel and 6% forecast staff reductions. The net 12% increase in hiring is well above the national average, according to the survey.

When asked which technical skill set was most in demand within their IT departments:

  • 28% of CIOs cited help desk/end-user support
  • 23% cited networking
  • applications development ranked third among CIOs with 11%.

Officials say that networking expertise is critical to IT departments these days as firms focus on securing corporate information systems and offering remote or wireless network access to an increasingly mobile workforce.

CIOs in the transportation and business services sectors also are optimistic about hiring in the first quarter. Some 16% of technology executives in both industries expect to add personnel while just 1% forecast staff reductions. Employment activity is also expected to exceed the national average in the retail and finance, insurance and real estate industries. CIOs in each industry expect a net 6% hiring increase in the second quarter.

The poll includes responses from more than 1,400 US CIOs from companies with 100 or more employees.