Largest Companies Lead in Hiring Optimism, Survey Finds

Jun 3, 2008

MENLO PARK, CA -- Fourteen percent of chief information officers (CIOs) expect to add information technology (IT) personnel in the third quarter of 2008 and 4 percent plan staff reductions, according to the latest Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. The net 10 percent increase in hiring activity compares with a net 12 percent increase forecast last quarter. The majority of respondents (82 percent) anticipate no change in staffing levels in the summer months.

The IT Hiring Index and Skills Report is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States 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.

Key Findings

  • Technology executives at the largest companies (1,000 or more employees) expect the strongest staffing activity.
  • Networking remains the hottest job category for the fourth straight quarter.
  • CIOs in the West South Central1 states project the most active hiring.
  • Retail and wholesale firms are most optimistic about IT hiring.

“While the forecast remains strong overall, a more cautious hiring climate prevails,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Employers want to ensure business demands support full-time staff additions. Shorter-term initiatives are being completed on a project basis in some instances.”

The largest companies are most confident about boosting staff levels in the coming months, the survey found. Twenty percent of CIOs at firms with 1,000 or more employees expect to expand their teams and 6 percent anticipate personnel cutbacks. The net 14 percent increase is four points above the national average. Thirty-five percent of CIOs polled at employers of this size said business growth is the primary driver for hiring activity.

Skills in Demand

When CIOs were asked which technical skill set is needed most in their IT departments, the top response was Windows administration (Server 2000/2003), cited by 73 percent of executives. Desktop support was second, named by 71 percent of those polled, while network administration (LAN, WAN) followed closely at 70 percent. (Note: CIOs polled were allowed multiple responses.)

For the fourth consecutive quarter, technology executives said networking is the job area experiencing the most growth, with 17 percent of the response. Help desk/end-user support was cited by 16 percent of CIOs, followed by Internet/intranet development at 11 percent.

Regional Outlook

Technology executives in the West South Central region anticipate the greatest hiring activity in the third quarter. Twenty-three percent of CIOs expect to add IT staff and 1 percent foresee personnel reductions. The net 22 percent hiring increase is 12 points above the national average. “Developers who have experience with Microsoft .NET and SharePoint are at a premium in this region,” said Lee. “Companies in the oil and gas, and healthcare industries are driving demand for IT professionals, particularly at the mid-to-senior level.”

The Mountain2 region also is expected to post notable hiring gains. Fifteen percent of executives plan to expand their IT departments and 1 percent forecast personnel reductions, for a net 14 percent hiring increase.

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

CIOs in the retail and wholesale industries plan the most active hiring in the next three months, each with a net 14 percent hiring increase forecast. “Firms in the retail and wholesale sectors rely on technology to help them operate more efficiently and cost-effectively, particularly when it comes to inventory management,” Lee said. “Having sufficient and skilled IT staff is critical for supporting such functions on an ongoing basis.”

The professional services sector also anticipates strong hiring activity in the third quarter. Fifteen percent of CIOs plan to add employees and 2 percent anticipate personnel cutbacks, for a net 13 percent hiring increase.

About the Survey
The quarterly IT Hiring Index and Skills Report was developed by Robert Half Technology and conducted by an independent research firm. First published in 1995, the study is based on more than 1,400 telephone interviews with CIOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. In order for the study to be statistically representative and ensure that companies from all segments were represented, the sample was stratified by geographic region, industry and employee size. The results were then weighted to reflect the proper proportions of employee size within each region. The margin of error for this study is +/-2.6 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About Robert Half Technology
With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at

National Hiring IT Projections

IT Hiring Index: Two-Year History

Hot IT Jobs

IT Skills in Demand

Factors Driving IT Hiring

IT Hiring by Region

IT Hiring by Industry

IT Hiring by Metro Market

1 Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas
2 Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming


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