More CIOs Plan to Hire During First Quarter

MENLO PARK, Calif., Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Hiring in the information technology field will increase in the first quarter, according to the just-released the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report ( In the latest survey, 11 percent of chief information officers (CIOs) said they plan to add information technology (IT) staff in the first three months of the year, and just 3 percent foresee cutbacks. The net 8 percent increase in hiring activity is up 5 points from the fourth-quarter forecast.

The survey also found that 84 percent of CIOs are at least somewhat confident in their companies' growth prospects in the first quarter, the same number reported in the fourth-quarter survey. In addition, more than half (54 percent) of executives said it is very or somewhat challenging to find skilled IT professionals today.

The IT Hiring Index and Skills Report is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees. 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 8 percent increase in projected IT hiring activity for the first quarter is the highest in one year and up 5 points from the prior quarter's forecast.
  • Technology executives in the East North Central(1) and West South Central(2) regions will be hiring the most actively.
  • Eighty-four percent of CIOs are at least somewhat confident in their companies' growth prospects in the first quarter; 35 percent are very confident.
  • More than half (54 percent) of CIOs expect to encounter recruiting challenges in the quarter ahead.
  • Network administration is the most highly sought area of expertise for job candidates, as it has been for the last four quarters of the survey.


"As companies maximize operational efficiencies and strive to make information more accessible, they rely on their IT departments," said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "As a result, CIOs are reinitiating previously deferred projects and are more willing to invest in augmenting their teams."

Confidence in Business Growth and IT Investments

Eighty-three percent of technology executives said they are at least somewhat optimistic about their firms' likelihood of investing in IT projects in the coming quarter; 42 percent rated the probability at 4 or higher on a 5-point scale.

Skills in Demand

The functional area in which executives foresee the most challenges in finding skilled professionals is networking, cited by 17 percent of executives. This was followed by security and software development, with 16 percent and 11 percent of the response, respectively.

The technical skill set most in demand within IT departments for a majority of CIOs (65 percent) is network administration, up 5 points from the fourth-quarter survey where it also topped the wish list. Windows administration (Server 2000/2003/2008) ranked second, with 61 percent of the response, followed by desktop support and database management, garnering 59 percent and 54 percent of the response, respectively. (Note: CIOs were allowed multiple responses.)

Regional Outlook

The West South Central and East North Central states are expected to see the greatest amount of hiring activity in the first quarter, with a net 12 percent of CIOs in each region planning to add full-time IT professionals.

Industries Hiring

CIOs in the health services industry are most likely to hire in the first quarter. Eighteen percent of executives in this sector plan to expand their IT departments and none foresees staff reductions. Companies in the healthcare industry say it is most difficult to find skilled software developers, followed by networking and security professionals.

Professional services is another sector with hiring expectations above the national average. Thirteen percent of CIOs anticipate adding staff and 2 percent expect to reduce personnel, for a net 11 percent increase in hiring activity.

About the Survey

The quarterly IT Hiring Index and Skills Report was developed by Robert Half Technology and conducted by an independent research firm. First published in 1995, the study is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CIOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. In order for the study to be statistically representative and ensure that companies from all segments were represented, the sample was stratified by geographic region, industry and number of employees. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper number of employees within each region. The margin of error for this study is +/-2.6 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

The IT Hiring Index and Skills Report is conducted as part of the Robert Half Professional Employment Report, which tracks hiring trends among professional occupations. More information about the Professional Employment Report is available at

About Robert Half Technology

With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at

(1) Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin

(2) Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas