Encouraging News on IT Jobs in Q2
March 14, 2011 Jenny Thomas
If you’re one of the many people who has lost a job and has been struggling to find work as our the United States struggles to get out of its current economic mess, you’ll be encouraged to learn that CIOs here are feeling optimistic about hiring in the second quarter of 2011.
Robert Half Technology, which finds jobs for IT professionals on a project and full-time basis, recently conducted telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees. The results of those interviews were released last week in their IT Hiring Index and Skills Report.
The CIOs revealed high confidence in business prospects and IT investments, with technology executives forecasting continued IT hiring activity for in the second quarter of 2011. In this latest quarterly survey, 9 percent of CIOs said they plan to expand their IT departments, and just 2 percent expect cutbacks, for a net 7 percent increase in hiring.
The net 7 percent increase in IT hiring activity is up from a net 5 percent forecast this time last year, but down one point from forecasts made late last year for the current first quarter. In the fourth quarter of 2010, CIOs were predicted a 9 percent increase in hiring and a 6 percent decrease, closing out the year with a net 3 percent increase in hiring. You can see an overview of hiring findings from quarter four of 2008 to the end of 2010 in the graphic below:
So just as we keep hearing we are heading out of the economic misery of past few years, we also keep hearing there will be an increase in IT prospects for jobs and projects in the coming months. IBM also recently made some positive predictions about IT spending, which we told you about here.
“Companies are recognize that moving ahead with formerly delayed upgrades and implementing new technologies can give them a competitive advantage,” said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Firms are investing in projects designed to create business efficiencies and help improve service levels and often need more IT personnel to support these initiatives, particularly if their teams have been understaffed in recent years.”
Of the 1,400 CIOs surveyed for this most recent IT Hiring Index and Skills Report, a whopping 80 percent boldly reported they were confident in their company’s growth prospects in the next three months. And nearly half (48 percent) of technology executives rated the probability of their firms investing in IT projects in the second quarter a 4 or higher on a 5-point scale, with 5 being the most optimistic.
So where are all these CIOs who are planning to hire? The report reveals that it is the CIOs in the South Atlantic states who are most optimistic about hiring in the second quarter. The South Atlantic region includes: Delaware, Washington D.C., Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. About 15 percent of executives in that region plan to add IT staff and just 1 percent expect cutbacks. The net 14 percent increase is seven points higher than the national average. Findings were similar at the end of last year, which is illustrated by the following graphic.
Network administration remains the skill set in greatest demand, cited by 65 percent of CIOs. Windows administration ranked second, with 60 percent of the response, followed by desktop support at 57 percent and database management at 52 percent. (Note: CIOs were allowed multiple responses.)
Although “IT jobs” is a rather nebulous term, we can make some assumptions (or maybe we can just hope really hard) that those jobs must include prospects in companies running the IBM i platform. At the end of last year, construction and business services were leading the pack in hiring predictions, as shown in this graphic.
Now, the finance, insurance, and real estate sectors are taking over the lead in hiring expectations, with 17 percent of CIOs in these industries reportedly planning to expand their IT departments and none anticipating staff reductions. Execs in the wholesale and health services sectors also anticipate strong hiring activity, each forecasting a net 12 percent increase.
The i is a player in all of these industries, so while we don’t know the exact numbers, we have to believe that the situation is improving in our ecosystem as well. So job seekers, keep your chin up and keep sending out that resume. We’ll be keeping on eye on the trends.