Looking toward the fourth quarter of 2003, 9% of executives polled plan to expand their IT departments in the fourth quarter and 4% anticipate staff reductions. The net 5% hiring increase compares with a net 7% increase forecast last quarter, according to a survey by Robert Half Technology.
Of those that are looking to expand their head count in the fourth quarter, nearly half (47%) cited corporate growth as the primary factor. The desire to improve customer and end-user support was the next most popular reason given, with 19% of the response.
Further, nearly eight out of 10 (79%) of CIOs reported a need for experienced Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP) administrators. Also being sought are SQL Server (40%) and Cisco network administrators (29%).
For the third quarter in a row, it was CIOs in business services that had the rosiest outlook on technology hiring in the coming quarter, with 18% expecting to hire before the end of the year compared to only 7% that predicted staff reductions. The net 11% hiring increase is more than double the national average. Other net increases were anticipated in:
- Professional services – 9%
- Retail – 7%
- Finance/Insurance/Real Estate – 7%
- Wholesale – 6%
The outlook was less bullish among the Transportation and Construction industries, where CIOs anticipated net headcount reductions of 6% and 3%, respectively.
By geographical breakdown, the East South Central region of the United States is expected to lead the nation in technology hiring activity during the fourth quarter, where 15% of CIOs plan to expand their IT departments and 3% anticipate personnel cutbacks. The net 12% increase is 7% above the national average. Other net increases were anticipated in:
- Mid Atlantic – 11%
- South Atlantic – 9%
- Mountain – 7%
- New England – 5%
- West South Central – 3%
- Pacific – 3%
Conversely, CIOs in the East South Central forecast a net decrease among their IT employees of 2% and West North Central CIOs are predicting no change.