Business Growth Fueling Demand for IT Professionals, Survey Shows

Jun 14, 2006

MENLO PARK, CA -- Chief information officers (CIOs) expect a modest uptick in information technology (IT) hiring in the third quarter of 2006, according to the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills ReportThirteen percent of executives polled plan to add IT staff in the next three months and 3 percent anticipate cutbacks.  The net 10 percent hiring increase is up two percentage points from the previous quarter’s forecast.

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

  • Business growth is the primary motivation for adding IT staff, according to executives surveyed.
  • Windows administration (Server 2000/2003) is the hottest skill set within IT departments.
  • The Mountain1 states lead the nation in hiring optimism, results show.
  • Executives in the finance, insurance and real estate industry are most optimistic about hiring activity.

“Continued corporate expansion is prompting many CIOs to initiate new projects and expand hiring plans,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology.  “As a result, competition for the most skilled candidates is increasing as hiring managers seek individuals who can support internal staff and assist with new development initiatives.”

Lee added, “As the employment market becomes more competitive, technology executives will need to focus their efforts on sound retention strategies.”

Forty-four percent of CIOs who expect to hire new full-time IT professionals said business growth is the primary factor driving the demand.  Twenty-three percent of respondents attributed the need for more staff to increased customer or end-user support.

Skills in Demand

When asked which technical skill sets were needed most within their IT departments, 79 percent of CIOs reported demand for Microsoft Windows administration (Server 2000/2003) expertise.  Network administration (Cisco, Nortel, Novell) was cited by 76 percent of respondents, followed closely by database management (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2) with 69 percent of the response.  (Note: CIOs surveyed were allowed multiple responses.)

Regional Outlook

For the second time in three quarters, technology executives in the Mountain states are most optimistic about their upcoming hiring plans.  Nineteen percent of CIOs expect to add personnel and none foresee staff cutbacks.  The net 19 percent increase is nine percentage points above the national average.

“Health care, as well as professional and financial services firms, in the Mountain region are expanding and reporting demand for IT personnel,” Lee said.  “In particular, CIOs seek applications developers skilled in .NET and Java 2 Enterprise Edition to assist in enhancing customer-facing applications.”

Notable hiring gains are also expected in the West South Central2 region.  Twenty-one percent of CIOs plan to expand their IT departments and 3 percent anticipate personnel reductions, a net 18 percent hiring increase.

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

Industries Hiring

The finance, insurance and real estate sector is expected to lead the nation in hiring activity during the third quarter.  Sixteen percent of CIOs in this industry plan to add IT staff and only 1 percent expect personnel cutbacks.  The net 15 percent hiring increase is five points above the national average.

“Firms in the finance, insurance and real estate sector are heavily dependent on technology to store, protect and report on confidential data and are actively seeking IT professionals able to support these initiatives,” Lee said.

CIOs in the transportation industry also plan strong hiring activity.  Fourteen percent of technology executives plan to expand their IT departments and none anticipate staff reductions, a net 14 percent hiring increase. 

National IT Hiring Projections

Factors Driving IT Hiring

IT's Hottest Skills

IT Hiring Projections By Region

IT Hiring Projections By Industry

IT Hiring Projections By Company Size

IT Hiring Projections By Metro Market

Five-Year History

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 security 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 Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas

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