Mountain Region Leads Nation in Anticipated IT Employment Growth, Survey Shows

Dec 12, 2005

MENLO PARK, CA -- Thirteen percent of chief information officers (CIOs) interviewed for the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report plan to add full-time information technology (IT) staff in the first quarter, while 1 percent anticipate personnel reductions.  The net 12 percent hiring increase compares with a net 9 percent forecast one year ago and is unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2005 when the net hiring increase reached its highest level in 14 quarters.

The national poll includes responses from more than 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies 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.  The company has been tracking IT hiring activity in the United States since 1995.

Key Findings

  • The Mountain1 states expect the strongest employment growth.
  • For the second consecutive quarter, the finance, insurance and real estate sector is expected to lead the nation in hiring activity.
  • Executives at the largest firms (1,000 or more employees) forecast the highest levels of IT hiring activity.
  • Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP) administration remains the technical skill set most in demand.

“As business conditions improve and new IT projects are initiated, hiring activity is increasing,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology.  “Competition among employers for the most highly skilled candidates means a more favorable employment market for job seekers.”

Lee noted that many IT departments are rethinking their staffing strategies.  “Many managers are accelerating the hiring process because the most skilled individuals receive multiple offers.  Those that delay the process too long, risk losing top candidates.”

Executives at the largest companies were the most optimistic about technology hiring.  Twenty-three percent of CIOs at these firms plan to add staff and 2 percent project declines in personnel.  The net 21 percent hiring increase is nine percentage points above the national average. 

Skills in Demand

When asked which technical skill sets were needed most within their IT departments, 81 percent of CIOs reported demand for Microsoft Windows (NT/2000/XP) administration expertise.  Wireless network management was cited by 50 percent of respondents, followed closely by SQL Server management (46 percent).  (Note: CIOs surveyed were allowed multiple responses.)

When technology executives were asked which specialties were most in demand in their departments, 22 percent said networking.  Help desk/end-user support was cited by 13 percent of CIOs while applications development received 11 percent of the response, an increase of two percentage points from its fourth-quarter ranking.

Regional Outlook

The Mountain states are expected to lead the nation in technology hiring activity during the first quarter.  Twenty-four percent of CIOs plan to expand their IT departments and 2 percent anticipate personnel cutbacks.  The net 22 percent increase is 10 points higher than the national average and 14 points above the region’s fourth-quarter forecast.

“CIOs in the Mountain states are actively hiring,” Lee said.  “In particular, they’re looking for individuals who can assist with wireless network installations, regulatory compliance work and growing Internet-related business opportunities.”

CIOs in the South Atlantic2 states also forecast hiring activity above the national average.  Thirteen percent of technology executives expect to add staff and none anticipate reductions in personnel, resulting in a net 13 percent hiring increase.

Robert Half Technology has conducted additional interviews in major metropolitan markets to provide more detailed analyses of IT hiring trends in these cities.  The local results, and additional supporting charts, are available below.

Industries Hiring

For the second consecutive quarter, the finance, insurance and real estate sector leads all industries in anticipated hiring activity.  Twenty-eight percent of CIOs in this industry plan to expand their IT departments and none expect staff cutbacks during the first quarter.  The net 28 percent hiring increase is 16 percentage points above the national average.

CIOs in the business services sector also anticipate notable employment growth, with a net 19 percent hiring increase forecast.  Technology executives in the transportation industry project a net 16 percent hiring increase.

National Hiring Projections

Regional Hiring Projections

Industry Hiring Projections

5-Year History

Metro-Market Projections

Jobs Experiencing the Most Growth

IT's Hottest Skills

With more than 100 locations in North America and Europe, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis, for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network engineering and technical support.  For more information about Robert Half Technology or to learn about online job search opportunities, please visit

1 Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
2 Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia

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