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CIOs Optimistic On First Quarter IT Hiring

A survey says 13% of large firms intend to add IT staff in early 2008, with Windows administration and networking topping their needs list.
Networking and Microsoft Windows skills are in the most demand by CIOs, of whom 10% plan to add to their IT staff in the first quarter of 2008, according to an IT hiring survey released Tuesday.

The Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report surveyed 1,400 CIOs with more than 100 employees and found that 13% of them plan to add to their staff while 3% plan to reduce staff hiring, for a net 10% increase.

As in other recent Robert Half surveys, Windows administration and networking were generally the employee skills that are most sought after by CIOs. Server 2000/2003 expertise was cited most often in the Windows area, while Cisco and Nortel were often cited in the networking area.

A total of 74% of CIOs said Windows administration was their most sought after technical skill, followed by network administration (70%), database management (59%), and firewall administration (54%.)

"Companies are investing in a range of technology initiatives, including Web 2.0 development, wireless communication, and network security," said Katherine Spencer Lee, Robert Half Technology's executive director, in a statement. "Firms recruiting IT professionals to support these projects are looking for talent with the right mix of technical expertise (and) industry-specific experience."

Various reasons were cited by CIOs for expanding their departments, ranging from business growth (27%), need for customer support (20%), and systems upgrades management (19%).

Networking continued its top ranking for the second straight quarter for most growth (19%), while help desk support was second at 14%, followed by applications development's 12% growth.

In the regional breakdown, CIOs in the mid-Atlantic states are anticipating the most growth in the quarter, as 17% of CIOs there are planning a hiring increase. In particular demand in the region are Web developers, Robert Half Technology noted. The west-central states also are planning a significant increase in IT hiring.

Industries planning to add staff include business services, finance, insurance, real estate, transportation, professional services, and retail.

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