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December 21, 2010

Tech CIOs plan to hire during first quarter of 2011

Net 10 percent increase in hiring predicted

Hiring in the information technology field will increase in the first quarter, according to the just-released Robert Half  Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. In the latest survey, 12 per cent of chief information officers (CIOs) said they plan to add information technology (IT) staff in the first three months of the year, and just 2 per cent foresee cutbacks. The net 10 per cent increase in hiring activity is up 5 points from the fourth-quarter forecast.

The survey also found that 88 per cent 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 (55 per cent) 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 270 CIOs from companies across   Canada  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.

"As executives are seeing growth in their organisations, technology departments are playing a key role in maximizing operational efficiencies," said Lara Dodo, Canadian regional vice president of   Robert Half  Technology. "As a result, firms are augmenting their IT teams and investing in supporting network, windows administration and web development needs."

Eighty-eight per cent of CIOs polled expressed optimism about their organisation's ability to expand in the next three months. Sixty-two per cent of CIOs are confident about their companies' likelihood to invest in IT projects in the first quarter of 2011.

The functional areas in which executives foresee the most challenges in finding skilled professionals are networking and applications development, each cited by 14 per cent of executives. This was followed by security, with 12 per cent of the response.

The technical skill set most in demand within IT departments for a majority of CIOs (77 per cent) is Windows administration (Server 2000/2003/2008). Network administration ranked second, with 75 per cent of the response, followed by desktop support and database management, garnering 73 per cent and 64 per cent of the response, respectively. (Note: CIOs were allowed multiple responses.)

CIOs in the finance, insurance and real estate industries are most likely to hire in the first quarter. Thirty-seven per cent of executives in this sector plan to expand their IT departments and 7 per cent foresee staff reductions. CIOs in this industry said it is most difficult to find skilled applications developers, followed by networking professionals.

Retail is another sector with hiring expectations above the national average. Sixteen per cent of CIOs anticipate adding staff and none expect to reduce personnel, for a net 16 per cent increase in hiring activity.

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