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No Boom In IT Hiring Coming Anytime Soon

A new Christian & Timbers survey of senior executives shows that though many companies need people, there's little IT hiring going on.
There's no rest for the weary anytime soon: Even though 46% of senior executives say their companies are understaffed, most of them don't expect to do any significant hiring in the next year.

That's the dim finding from a survey of 148 executives at public companies conducted by executive search firm Christian & Timbers during the week of Aug. 14.

Seth Harris, a Christian & Timbers partner, says the survey, which represents all sectors, strongly reflects what's happening in the tech job sector, in part because the demographics of the surveyed are "tech heavy."

"The survey matches what we've been seeing," Harris says. "There's a need for people, but IT hiring is just not happening,"

Offshore and domestic outsourcing of IT activities such as application development and application hosting is a key reason why companies aren't hiring in IT, he says. "But the flip side is that there are opportunities for an uptake in jobs at those outsource companies--if people are willing to take substantial cuts in pay and have less responsibility," he says.

The survey showed that only 10% expect to hire in the next 30 to 60 days; 19% expect to hire in the next 3 to 6 months; 10% expect to hire in the next 6 to 9 months; 13% expect to hire in the next 9 to 12 months; and 6% expect to hire in the second half of 2004. The rest--42%--don't expect to hire next year.

While nearly half of the executives admitted they were understaffed, 23% said they were correctly staffed, and 31% said they were actually overstaffed.