Majority of CIOs plan to maintain current or add new personnel in 2009

Twelve per cent of chief information officers (CIOs) anticipate adding information technology (IT) personnel in the second quarter of 2009 and 4 per cent plan staff reductions in the next three months, according to the latest Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. This represents a net 8 per cent increase. The majority of respondents, 78 per cent, plan to maintain current staffing levels.

The IT Hiring Index and Skills Report is based on telephone interviews with more than 270 CIOs from companies across Canada. 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 survey findings include:

  • Help desk/technical support and data/database management are the job areas experiencing the most growth.
  • Desktop support is the technical skill set most in demand, overtaking network administration, which also led as the top skill in the first quarter.
  • One in five IT executives who plan to add staff will hire a mix of full-time and contract workers.

"With the current economic environment, it is not surprising that companies are being more prudent with their hiring," says Sandra Lavoy, a vice president with Robert Half Technology. "To improve efficiencies and manage expenses, companies are looking for help desk and technical support professionals as well as data/database management specialists."

Twenty per cent of CIOs who plan to add staff will hire a mix of full-time and project workers, while 41 per cent plan to make a full-time hire and 33 per cent plan to add contract workers. One-half of executives cited high or increased IT workloads as the primary factor driving hiring demand, followed by routine hirings for vacant positions at 28 per cent. Corporate growth or expansion was the third most cited answer with 15 per cent of the response.  

CIOs cited company-wide layoffs (57 per cent) and the impact of the financial crisis on their company or industry (25 per cent) as the reasons for reductions in IT personnel during the second quarter. IT projects being put on hold received 4 per cent of the response.  

CIOs in the professional services and wholesale sectors are most optimistic about hiring in the upcoming quarter. Twenty-six per cent of professional services executives interviewed plan to add staff while no one plans on reducing the size of their IT workforce, for a net 26 per cent increase.  In the wholesale sector, 20 per cent of CIOs anticipate hiring more staff and 2 per cent expect staff reductions for a net 18 per cent increase.

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 270 telephone interviews with CIOs from a random sample of Canadian companies.

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