Survey Reveals Healthcare CIOs Are Seeking Tech Talent - InformationWeek

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Survey Reveals Healthcare CIOs Are Seeking Tech Talent

The healthcare industry plans to increase IT hiring about 5% in the fourth quarter, according to a new report. The figure might not appear to be blockbuster, but it's above the national average. Overall, CIOs across many industries plan to add zero tech people to their staffs in the near term.

The healthcare industry plans to increase IT hiring about 5% in the fourth quarter, according to a new report. The figure might not appear to be blockbuster, but it's above the national average. Overall, CIOs across many industries plan to add zero tech people to their staffs in the near term.A recently released survey of 244 healthcare CIOs by IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology found that for the fourth quarter, 7% plan to increase IT staff and 2% expect to decrease staff. That means a net of 5% plan to increase hiring.

Not exactly eye-popping, you might say, especially with the government's e-health stimulus program waving about $20 billion worth of carrots at healthcare providers who use e-medical record and other clinical information systems in "meaningful" ways by 2011.

Still, with the U.S. Dept. of Labor reporting last week that national unemployment hit a 26-year high of 9.7% in August, any hiring is good news, including if you're an IT pro looking for a new job.

By the way: Overall, IT jobs have been weathering the recession better than many other professions. As David Foote, CEO of research firm Foote Partners, pointed out in a recent report:

"If you consider that according to the Dept. of Labor, 31, 000 IT related jobs have been lost since January 2009, but only 4,500 since June, and with a net gain of 3,100 IT related jobs in July and August, it's clear that we're heading in the right direction. I think we can take some satisfaction in this trend and maintain optimism for the rest of the year, especially for the IT services sector."

Still, for the near term there might not be a heck of a lot of new IT job growth if Robert Half Technology's survey is correct. According to the 1,400 CIOs across several industries nationally that Robert Half Technology surveyed in companies with at least 100 employees, CIOs were as likely to add IT staff as they were to cut talent in Q4.

The overwhelming majority--86%--predicted no changes in IT personnel levels. Six percent of CIOs told Robert Half Technology they planned to hire in Q4--but the same percentage expected to reduce staff. That's zero net growth, right?

But back to healthcare IT hiring.

Of those CIOs in healthcare who plan to hire in Q4, Robert Half Technology's survey found this:

49% plan to hire full-time employees

12% plan to hire a mix of full-time and part-time workers

19% plan to hire a mix of full-time and contract or project workers

12% plan to hire contract or project workers only

3% plan to hire part-time employees only

5% don't know

Also, Robert Half Technology's survey indicated the job area experiencing the most growth is help desk/technical support at 25%, followed by networking at 18%.

The technical skills healthcare CIOs specified are in most demand for Q4 include network administration at 76%, followed by desktop support at 72% and Windows administration at 61%.

These are in line with the top three national results, says the staffing firm.

Does your IT organization plan to hire IT staff any time soon?

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).

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