Most IT Hiring Expected in Retail Industry

March 8, 2006 ( - Technology executives in the retail sector were the most optimistic about hiring IT employees in the second quarter of 2006, according to the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report.

Nineteen percent of retail sector Chief Information Officers (CIOs) surveyed plan to expand their IT departments and only 3% expect personnel cutbacks, according to a press release. The net 16% hiring increase is twice the national average revealed by the survey.

Strong hiring activity also is expected in the wholesale and transportation sectors, with CIOs from both projecting an 11% increase. Meanwhile, according to the release, the majority (84%) of all executives surveyed anticipate no change in their IT personnel levels during the second quarter of 2006. Twelve percent overall plan to expand their IT departments, while four percent plan staff reductions.

CIO’s at the largest firms (1,000 or more employees) forecast the strongest employment growth. Twenty-five percent of executives at firms with more than 1,000 employees plan to hire additional personnel and five percent foresee staff reductions This compares to a net 5% increase in hiring activity forecast at the smallest firms (100-249 employees). The primary motivation for adding IT staff cited by 40% of respondents was business growth.

The survey found that help desk/end-user support is experiencing the most growth within IT departments, with 21% of the response. Twenty-six percent of CIOs cited increased customer and end-user support needs as the reason for staff additions. Networking (15%) and data/database management (13%) were job categories experiencing the second and third highest growth.

Skill sets most in demand within IT departments, according to the report, were Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP) administration (81%), wireless network management (52%), and SQL Server management (49%).

CIOs in the West North Central states forecast the strongest IT hiring activity during the second quarter. Fourteen percent of executives in that region expect to add staff and 2% anticipate personnel cutbacks. Notable employment growth also is forecast in the New England states, with 14% of CIOs in that region planning to expand their IT departments and 3% expecting staff reductions.

The national poll includes responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from a random sample of US companies with 100 or more employees. The report, as well as results of additional interviews in major metropolitan areas providing more detailed analyses of IT hiring trends in these markets, is available at .