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Canadian CIOs don’t anticipate strong hiring of IT professionals in Q3, according to a report released by Toronto-based Robert Half Technology, an IT staffing firm.

The Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report found that only 13 per cent of the 270 CIOs polled plan to expand their IT departments in the coming months and nine percent see staff reductions as a possibility. The net increase of four percent is down five points from the second-quarter forecast.

The remaining 78 per cent of CIOs polled – all CIOs representing Canadian companies with 100 or more employees – expect no change in hiring activity in Q3.

Other key findings include: increased customer support was noted as the leading factor driving hiring among IT executives; CIOs from midsized companies – companies with 250 to 499 employees – represent the demographic most optimistic about its hiring plans; Microsoft Windows administration is the most in-demand skill set; 57 per cent of hiring CIOs will be seeking to fill mid-level manager positions; and CIOs in sectors including insurance, finance and real estate are most optimistic about upcoming hiring activity.

Seventy-four per cent of CIOs reported Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP) administrators as being the technical skill set most needed within IT departments, with Visual Basic development ranking second with 42 per cent and Cisco network administration ranking third with 33 per cent.

Help desk specialists, programmers/analysts and network administrators were identified in the report as being the most in-demand positions to fill within hiring organizations.