In what will come as disappointing news for unemployed business-technology professionals, the IT hiring outlook remains lackluster through the rest of the year, according to a survey by professional services firm Robert Half Technology. In the survey of 1,400 CIOs nationwide released Wednesday, 85% of respondents say they expect no change to their IT staff sizes in the fourth quarter of 2003.
In fact, planned staff reductions are up slightly from a survey conducted three months ago. In the most recent survey, 9% of CIOs say they plan to expand their IT departments and 4% anticipate staff reductions, for a net hiring increase of 5%. In the survey that forecasted third-quarter hiring, the net hiring increase was 7%. Businesses are still looking for signs of sustained economic growth before making full-time hiring decisions, says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director at Robert Half.
Among those planning to hire, corporate growth was cited as the biggest factor. CIOs in the East South Central states (Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee) were the most bullish on hiring, with a net 12% increase, followed by the mid-Atlantic region (New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania), with a net 11% hiring increase. Interest was particularly strong in the professional services, retail, finance, insurance, and real estate sectors, and Microsoft Windows administration is the most-in-demand skillset.