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More CIOs Planning to Hire in First Quarter of 2011

Business Confidence Remains High Among IT Executives; Companies Face with IT Recruiting Challenges

Business Confidence Remains High Among IT Executives; Companies Face with IT Recruiting Challenges

In the first quarter of 2011, 11 percent of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) said they plan to add information technology (IT), and just 3 percent foresee cutbacks. The net 8 percent increase in hiring activity is up 5 points from the fourth-quarter forecast, according to the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report which was released today. The results are based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs throughout the United States with more than 100 employees, to determine their hiring plans for the upcoming quarter.

According to the survey, 84 percent of CIOs are at least somewhat confident in their companies’ growth prospects in the first quarter, the same number reported in the fourth-quarter survey. In addition, more than half (54 percent) of executives said it is very or somewhat challenging to find skilled IT professionals today.

Key Findings

• Technology executives in the East North Central and West South Central regions will be hiring the most actively.

• Eighty-four percent of CIOs are at least somewhat confident in their companies’ growth prospects in the first quarter; 35 percent are very confident.

• More than half (54 percent) of CIOs expect to encounter recruiting challenges in the quarter ahead.

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• Network administration is the most highly sought area of expertise for job candidates, as it has been for the last four quarters of the survey.

“As companies maximize operational efficiencies and strive to make information more accessible, they rely on their IT departments,” said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “As a result, CIOs are reinitiating previously deferred projects and are more willing to invest in augmenting their teams.”

Eighty-three percent of technology executives said they are at least somewhat optimistic about their firms’ likelihood of investing in IT projects in the coming quarter; 42 percent rated the probability at 4 or higher on a 5-point scale.

The technical skill set most in demand within IT departments for a majority of CIOs (65 percent) is network administration. Windows administration (Server 2000/2003/2008) ranked second, with 61 percent of the response, followed by desktop support and database management, garnering 59 percent and 54 percent of the response, respectively. (Note: CIOs were allowed multiple responses.)

CIOs in the health services industry are most likely to hire in the first quarter. Eighteen percent of executives in this sector plan to expand their IT departments and none foresees staff reductions. Companies in the healthcare industry say it is most difficult to find skilled software developers, followed by networking and security professionals.

Professional services is another sector with hiring expectations above the national average. Thirteen percent of CIOs anticipate adding staff and 2 percent expect to reduce personnel, for a net 11 percent increase in hiring activity.

According to a salary guide released by Robert Half Technology in early October, IT security professionals in the United States are expected to have starting salaries increase in 2011. The guide suggested larger increases in base compensation expected in high-demand segments including information security related positions.

The IT Hiring Index and Skills Report is conducted as part of the Robert Half Professional Employment Report, which tracks hiring trends among professional occupations. More information is available at

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