Fewer CIOs expect to expand IT staffs in Q4

Fewer chief information officers (CIOs) expect to expand their IT staffs in the fourth quarter of this year, as businesses continue to look for signs of a sustained economic recovery before hiring more full-time employees, a new survey reveals.

Only nine per cent of executives polled planned to expand their IT staffs in the fourth quarter, while four per cent anticipate staff reductions, according to a survey of 1,400 U.S. chief information officers (CIOs) recently released by Robert Half Technology.

The five-percentage-point difference between companies looking to hire and companies looking to cut staff is two percentage points lower than forecasts for the third quarter of this year.

Forty-seven per cent of the CIOs who do expect to hire more staff said business expansion was a leading factor, according to the researcher, while 19 per cent said improving end-user support would drive their hiring decisions.

Larger firms, with more than 1,000 employees, were more optimistic about hiring, and companies in the East South Central region of the U.S. – comprised of Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee – reported a higher staffing demand than other regions, Robert Half Technology said.

In terms of job skills, 79 per cent of CIOs polled said that they needed experienced Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP) administrators, while 40 per cent said their department could use a good SQL Server administrator.

Administrators of Cisco Systems Inc. networks need not fear, however, because 29 per cent of the executives said that this was a “high-demand specialty.”

While cost-cutting remains a priority for CIOs, companies are loosening their purse strings to invest in IT initiatives designed to generate revenue, Robert Half Technology Director Katherine Spencer Lee said in a statement.

Robert Half Technology is an IT staffing firm based in Menlo Park, California.