Report: IT Job Market Remains Promising as Companies Race to Acquire and Retain Top Talent

By Blaise McNamee September 05, 2013

As important as any given technology is to a thriving enterprise, equally as vital are the people pulling the strings behind it. That being said, the challenge to find talent is not an easy one. This is according to the results of a newly released survey from Robert Half Technology, a provider of information technology staffing on a project and full-time basis.

Titled the “IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report,” the survey interviewed 2,300 chief information officers (CIOs) from a random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. Of these CIOs, 68 percent said it’s somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals today, most notably in the networking (19 percent), data/database management (13 percent), and help desk/technical support (12 percent) areas.

"Given the relatively low unemployment rates for many technology positions, it's difficult for CIOs to recruit professionals with in-demand skills," said Tim Mullane, Philadelphia regional vice president of Robert Half.

"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," added John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half. "Nearly seven in 10 CIOs surveyed cited current recruiting difficulties. Many firms are increasing their focus on retention because candidates in these areas of IT can be hard to find."

This difficulty, however, is not for lack of trying. At least 11 percent of CIOs plan to expand their IT teams in the fourth quarter alone. Moreover, 65 percent plan to at least hire for open IT roles. Conversely, only 19 percent expect to put their IT hiring plans on hold, with just five percent planning to actually reduce their IT staff.

In all, CIOs are optimistic about the prospects for business growth and IT investment, the report suggests. Eighty-six percent of respondents are somewhat or very confident in their companies’ growth prospects in the fourth quarter, with 64 percent expressing that they will almost certainly invest in IT projects during that time.

This is certainly good news for anyone currently in or looking to enter the IT field. The most important factor, of course, like any other industry, is being able to showcase your talent and distinguish yourself from the rest of the applicant pool. At the moment, desktop support, network administration and database management skills are in the greatest demand nationwide.

"Companies continue to look for IT professionals with specialized skills who can enhance efficiencies or improve customer experiences," said Joseph McIntyre, St. Louis regional vice president of Robert Half Technology. "Many companies are beginning to increase compensation and employee perks in an effort to retain top talent."

Raleigh, North Carolina and Dallas, Texas hold the most promise for IT job seekers, both with a nation-leading 15 percent of area CIOs planning to expand their IT teams in the fourth quarter. St. Louis, New York, and Philadelphia, on the other hand, may not be as hospitable, with an above average six percent of CIOs planning to reduce their IT staff. This, of course, is only one percentage point above the national average, reflecting the overall growth of the IT job market throughout the country. In fact, the numbers across all major cities surveyed are fairly similar, further underscoring the strength of the IT hiring landscape nationwide.

"The fourth quarter often brings many infrastructure changes and year-end projects," said Megan Slabinski, Bay Area district president of Robert Half Technology. "We're seeing companies looking to grow their permanent teams, which leads to more direct hires and contract-to-hire opportunities.”




Edited by Rory J. Thompson
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