North America’s fastest growing technology companies are back in hiring mode as the clouds of economic uncertainty appear finally to have lifted. According to professional services firm Deloitte, an overwhelming majority (95%) of respondents to the firm’s recently released Technology Fast 500 CEO Survey, are planning to increase headcount. Furthermore, 40 percent of respondents indicated plans to increase their workforce by at least one-quarter and up to double over the next year.

The survey of more than 150 CEOs of Canadian and American of companies on the 2004 Technology Fast 500, Deloitte’s ranking of the fastest growing technology companies in North America, also found that merely 2 percent of respondents currently perceive the economy to be a concern, down significantly from 16 percent last year.

“Unlike previous years, external factors such as economic instability, taxation and global terrorism are perceived as being less of a threat for Fast 500 CEOs this year,” said Garry Foster, National Director, Technology, Media and Telecommunications Group with Deloitte Canada. “With no external factors to sidetrack, more tech CEOs shift their focus and efforts inward to strengthen their companies and increase growth organically.”

The improved economic climate and the rosy outlook also affected respondents’ confidence levels. More than one-third of CEOs (36%) were “extremely confident” about their companies’ future growth.