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CIOs Plan to Increase Hiring in First Quarter

TORONTO, Dec.8/09 – Chief information officers (CIOs) are showing signs of optimism as they look toward 2010, according to the first-quarter Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. Six per cent of technology executives anticipate adding information technology (IT) staff in the first quarter of 2010 and 4 per cent plan workforce reductions. The net 2 percent increase is up one point from last quarter’s forecast. Eighty-three per cent of CIOs plan to maintain current personnel levels.

The IT Hiring Index and Skills Report is based on telephone interviews with more than 300 CIOs from companies across Canada. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis.

Key Findings

  • The net 2 per cent increase in hiring activity is the strongest forecast since the second quarter of 2009.
  • Forty-one per cent of CIOs are confident their companies will invest in IT projects in the first quarter of 2010.
  • The wholesale and retail sectors forecast employment growth at or above the national average.
  • Fifty-three per cent of respondents cite business growth or expansion as the primary reason to add more IT staff.

“As the economy continues to strengthen, one area in which organizations will be investing is within technology, including carefully expanding their IT staff,” said Geoff Thompson, vice president with Robert Half Technology. “Firms are bringing in a combination of full-time, contract and project workers to help manage growth initiatives and expansion opportunities.”

When asked to rate how confident they are in their company’s likelihood to invest in IT projects in the first quarter on a scale of one to five (one being least confident and five being most confident), 41 per cent of CIOs gave confident responses of four or five. Of that group, 19 per cent rated their confidence level a five.

Staffing Mix and Experience Levels

Among companies planning to add technology professionals in the first quarter, 63 per cent said they plan to bring in a mix of full-time and contract or project workers. Twenty-three per cent plan to recruit full-time employees.

Forty-nine per cent of CIOs said they expect to hire staff-level employees (between two and five years of experience), while 45 per cent said they are focused on entry-level talent (up to two years of experience). Sixteen per cent of technology executives will concentrate hiring at the senior-staff level (five or more years of experience). (Note: CIOs were allowed multiple responses).

Skills in Demand

Technology executives noted that it’s most challenging to find skilled IT professionals in networking, with 14 per cent of the response. Help desk/technical support and software development followed, each with 11 per cent of the response.

When asked which technical skill sets are most in demand in their IT departments, 73 per cent of CIOs, respectively, said network administration or windows administration. Database management came in third at 68 per cent. (Note: CIOs were allowed multiple responses).

Industries Hiring

The retail industry expects strong IT hiring activity in the first three months of the year. Twelve per cent of CIOs plan to add employees and 7 per cent project staff reductions, for a net 5 per cent increase. CIOs in this sector cite business growth or expansion as the primary factor behind hiring more staff. Wholesale executives also foresee hiring gains above the national average, with 7 per cent anticipating adding employees and 2 per cent projecting staff reductions, for a net 5 per cent hiring increase in hiring activity. CIOs in this industry cited an increased need for customer/end user support

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