Chief information officers in the U.S. continue to take a cautious approach to increasing IT staff, choosing to hire only people who are essential to their long-term needs, a survey released Thursday showed.
The national poll of 1,400 CIOs found 9% plan to expand their IT departments and 3% anticipate staff reductions for a net 6% hiring increase projected for the fourth quarter, according to staffing consultants Robert Half International Inc. The latest figure is 1% higher than Half's forecast for the third quarter and for the same period a year ago.
"Many companies are beginning to staff up again after cutting budgets deeply during the recession," Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology, said in a statement. "However, firms are being cautious and selective, hiring only those IT professionals who are essential to their long-term needs and who meet all of their job requirements."
The survey found that CIOs at the nation's largest companies were most optimistic about hiring, and business growth remained the leading factor driving the need for more IT personnel. CIOs in the West North Central region of the country, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, were most likely to increase IT staff.
More than three-quarters of the CIOs reported a need for Microsoft Windows NT/2000/XP administrators. The second-most-needed skill set was Cisco network and Check Point firewall administration, followed by SQL Server management.
Networking was the specialty experiencing the most growth within IT departments, followed by information security and application development, according to the quarterly survey.