CIO Survey Reveals 4th Q Technology Hiring Outlook

Chief information officers (CIOs) anticipate a slowdown in the hiring of information technology (IT) professionals in the fourth quarter of 2002, according to the just-released Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index. Eleven percent of executives surveyed plan to expand their IT departments in the coming months and 3 percent anticipate staff cutbacks. Eighty-four percent of CIOs expect no change in hiring activity. The net 8 percent increase is down five 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.

"Technology executives are hiring conservatively, keeping many projects on hold pending more definitive signs of economic recovery," said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Businesses also are bringing in specialists on a project basis to maintain productivity."

Lee noted that firms that are adding technology staff are more selective, choosing only those applicants who have the precise combination of technical skills and industry experience required for the position. "Candidates who can communicate how their contributions will positively impact a company's bottom line, have a distinct advantage in the current employment environment."

Regional Outlook

CIOs in the Pacific1 states anticipate the strongest hiring activity in the fourth quarter. Fifteen percent of technology executives plan to add personnel, and 2 percent expect staff reductions, for a net hiring increase of 13 percent. "Growth in the region's health care and biotechnology industries is creating a need for those skilled in Enterprise Java and .NET development," Lee said.

Notable employment gains also are forecast in the East South Central2 states. Sixteen percent of CIOs plan to expand their IT departments and 4 percent anticipate staff reductions for a net 12 percent increase in hiring activity.

Technology hiring should also exceed the national average in the New England3 and Mountain4 regions, where CIOs project net hiring increases of 10 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

Industries Hiring

Business services will lead all other industries in technology hiring activity in the fourth quarter, according to the survey. Twenty-one percent of CIOs at these firms plan to expand their technology departments, and just 1 percent expect staff cutbacks. The 20 percent net hiring increase is more than twice the national average.

Solid employment gains also are expected in the finance, insurance and real estate sector, where CIOs expect a net 14 percent increase in hiring activity. Technology executives in the wholesale industry foresee a net 12 percent rise.

IT Hiring Index Chart: National Average
IT Hiring Index Chart: Regional Breakdown
IT Hiring Index Chart: Industry Breakdown

With more than 100 locations in North America, Europe and Australia, Robert Half Technology, formerly RHI Consulting, is a leading provider of IT professionals for initiatives ranging from e-business development and multiplatform systems integration to network engineering and technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at http://www.roberthalftechnology.com.

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