Q4 hiring plans slow, hint at IT recruiting challenges

Q4 hiring plans slow, hint at IT recruiting challenges

Fewer CIOs are planning to boost their IT departments in the fourth quarter of 2013 than were three months ago, according to new research. But on the positive side, fewer CIOs have plans to freeze hiring or reduce their staffs in the coming quarter.

Robert Half Technology polled 2,300 CIOs for its latest IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report. Among the respondents, 11% said they plan to expand their IT teams in Q4, which is down slightly from 12% in the prior quarter. In addition, 65% of CIOs plan to hire only for open IT roles (up from 56% in Q3), 19% expect to put hiring plans on hold (down from 26%), and 5% plan to reduce their IT staff (down from 6%) in the fourth quarter.

"IT hiring managers remain selective when hiring, but know they need to move fast to acquire top talent in hot specialty areas such as networking and help desk support," said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology (RHT), in a statement. "Many firms are increasing their focus on retention because candidates in these areas of IT can be hard to find."

Finding the right talent remains top-of-mind for most CIOs. Among respondents, 68% said it's somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals today.

When asked which skills are the most difficult to find, respondents cited networking (19%), data/database management (13%) and helpdesk/technical support (12%). When asked which skills are most often in demand, desktop support topped the list, cited by 54% of IT executives. Network administration and database management followed, each with 52%.

RHT also asked about CIOs' confidence levels, which remain high. Eighty-six percent of CIOs said they're somewhat or very confident about their companies' prospects for growth in Q4, compared to 85% in Q3. Further, 64% said they're somewhat or very confident that their firms will invest in IT projects in the fourth quarter (compared to 63% in Q3).

Computer Economics, a research and advisory firm, reports a similar finding in its IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks study. Compared to a year earlier, IT executives in mid-2013 said they're more confident that they'll be able to spend all their budgeted money. Just 20% of respondents anticipate not being able to spend all of the money in their plans this year, which is down from 31% in mid-2012.

Ann Bednarz covers IT careers, outsourcing and Internet culture for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter at@annbednarzand reach her via email

Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

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