Western States Lead the Nation in Hiring, Survey Finds

Sep 11, 2007

MENLO PARK, CA -- Fourteen percent of chief information officers (CIOs) polled for the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report expect to add information technology (IT) staff in the fourth quarter of 2007, and 2 percent anticipate cutbacks.  The net 12 percent hiring increase compares with net increases of 15 percent projected last quarter and 10 percent projected one year ago.  The majority of respondents, 83 percent, foresee no change in fourth-quarter hiring.

The Hiring Index and Skills Report is based on interviews with 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 continues to drive the need for more IT staff.
  • Networking is the hottest job category within IT departments.
  • CIOs in the Mountain1 and Pacific2 regions expect the strongest hiring activity.
  • Firms in the finance, insurance and real estate industry are most optimistic about employment gains.

“As competition for candidates intensifies in many specialties, organizations are starting to accelerate the hiring process, increase salaries and offer work-life balance benefits such as telecommuting opportunities and flexible work schedules to attract and retain top talent,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology.

The primary motivation for adding IT personnel, according to CIOs, is corporate growth.  Forty-five percent of technology executives rated this as the key reason for adding staff, followed by increased need for customer and/or end-user support (18 percent) and installation or development of new enterprisewide applications (15 percent).

Skills in Demand

According to 73 percent of CIOs surveyed, the technical skill set needed most in IT departments is Windows administration (Server 2000/2003).  This was followed by network administration (Cisco, Nortel), with 70 percent of the response, and database management (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2), at 60 percent.  (Note: CIOs surveyed were allowed multiple responses.)

When asked about the most in-demand job category, technology executives ranked networking number one, with 18 percent of the response.  “Growing use of wireless devices such as smart phones, cell phones and laptops has heightened the need for professionals who can make these tools function effectively and securely within a company’s network,” noted Lee.  Help desk/end-user support received the second-highest response at 15 percent, followed by applications development at 14 percent.

Regional Outlook

Technology executives in the Mountain region are most optimistic about fourth-quarter hiring plans.  Twenty-three percent of CIOs plan to expand their IT departments and 3 percent anticipate staff reductions.  The net 20 percent increase is eight points above the national average.

“Business growth in the region is encouraging firms to add more personnel,” Lee said.  “Companies are actively recruiting a range of IT professionals, from help desk to networking to development staff.”

CIOs in the Pacific states also forecast notable hiring activity.  Twenty percent of executives expect to add staff and 1 percent foresee personnel cutbacks.  “Web and applications developers, particularly those possessing Microsoft .NET skills, are in high demand in the region,” Lee said.

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

Industries Hiring

The finance, insurance and real estate sector is expected to see the most active hiring in the fourth quarter.  Twenty-three percent of CIOs plan to expand their IT departments and 2 percent plan staff reductions, for a net 21 percent hiring increase.  “The commercial real estate segment has experienced growth over the past several months,” Lee said.  “Firms in the finance, insurance and real estate sector are actively recruiting Internet/intranet developers, networking experts and help desk/end-user support staff to sustain growth.”

Four other industries also anticipate employment gains above the national average: retail, professional services, wholesale and business services.  Technology executives in each of these sectors forecast a net 15 percent hiring increase in the fourth quarter.

With more than 100 locations in North America, Europe and Asia, 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

National Hiring IT Projections

IT Hiring Index: Two-Year History

Hot IT Jobs

IT Skills in Demand

Factors Driving IT Hiring

IT Hiring Projections by Region

IT Hiring Projections by Industry

IT Hiring Projections by Metro Market

1 Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming
2  Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington

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