Survey: Q4 IT Hiring Projection Down Slightly

August 27, 2003 ( - The vast majority of chief information officers (CIO) (85%) see no change in their hiring activity in the fourth quarter of 2003, as the net increase in IT staff is slightly lower than the previous quarter.

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.