CIO Hiring Plans Inch Up For Third Quarter, Report Says

Skills in Microsoft Windows administration, SQL Server management, and wireless-network management are most in demand.
Hiring plans by CIOs for the third quarter are at the highest level in three years, according to a new study released by IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology.

While 81% of CIOs plan to maintain current staffing levels, the survey of 1,400 CIOs indicates that 14% plan to increase their full-time staff, while only 3% plan to reduce personnel in the third quarter. While overall IT hiring levels aren't exactly blockbuster, the 11% net hiring increase is the most optimistic hiring anticipated by CIOs since the third quarter of 2002, a Robert Half spokesman says.

While hiring plans by CIOs have been inching up over the last few quarters, it's still not close to the peak levels reported in late 2000 and early 2001, when about 22% of CIOs were increasing their staffs.

The 11% net increases in anticipated hiring in the third quarter compares with a net 9% who were planning to add staff in the second quarter.

The strongest hiring in the third quarter is being planned by CIOs in the six New England states. In that region, 24% of CIOs plan to increase hiring, while only 3% plan to reduce staff. Robert Half says the 21% net hiring in New England, which is 10 points higher than the national average, is fueled by recent expansion in the biotechnology industry around the Boston area.

Nationally, CIOs in the transportation industry anticipate the most hiring, with 25% saying they'll add staff and only 1% reporting plans to cut workers.

The second-strongest hiring region is planned by CIOs in west south central states, which include Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. In that region, 20% of CIOs plan to add staff and only 1% plan to cut personnel.

Seventy-seven percent of surveyed CIOs say the skill in highest demand by their IT organizations is Microsoft Windows administration, including Windows NT, 2000, and XP environments. Fifty-seven percent of CIOs report that SQL Server management skills are in short supply. Meanwhile, 48% of CIOs say they're seeking wireless-network-management skills. The surveyed CIOs were permitted to provide multiple responses for skills being sought.

Robert Half has been conducting its monthly CIO hiring surveys since 1995.

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