CIOs, CFOs optimistic about second quarter: Survey

Wholesale, finance, transportation most active for hiring
||Last Updated: 03/12/2012

Technology executives expect continued information technology (IT) hiring in the second quarter of 2012, according to the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report. Almost one-fifth (18 per cent) of chief information officers (CIOs) said they plan to expand their IT departments, and three per cent expect cutbacks, for a net 15 per cent projected increase in hiring activity. This is up seven points from last quarter's projections.

In the survey of more than 270 CIOs, 86 per cent of technology executives are somewhat or very optimistic about their companies' growth prospects in the next three months. Eighty-three per cent of technology executives expressed confidence in their firms' second-quarter investments in IT projects, rating the likelihood that their companies would be investing in IT projects a three or higher on a five-point scale, with five being most confident.

Help desk or technical support professionals are in greatest demand, followed closely by networking and applications development professionals, according to survey respondents.

"The employment market for IT professionals is currently active as many professionals look for new job opportunities," said Lara Dodo, a Canadian regional vice-president of Robert Half Technology. "Those in hot specialties, such as help desk/technical support and networking, continue to be highly sought after. As well, mobile media is a significant area of growth that is generating job openings right now."

Forty-seven per cent of CIOs said it's challenging to find skilled professionals today, with the greatest challenges in help desk or technical support (14 per cent) along with networking and applications development (11 per cent each).

Network administration remains the skill set in greatest demand, cited by 67 per cent of CIOs. Windows administration and desktop support were next, with 59 per cent and 52 per cent of the response, respectively.

Executives in the wholesale industry expect the most IT hiring in the second quarter. A net 25 per cent of CIOs in this sector plan to expand their IT departments. This was followed by the finance industry, with a net 19 percent of technology leaders anticipating hiring increases. Professional services came next, with a net 18 per cent of executives in this industry planning to add staff.

Net 9 per cent increase among CFOs

Twenty per cent of Canadian CFOs plan to add full-time accounting and finance employees during the second quarter while 11 per cent forecast staff decreases, according to the Robert Half Financial Hiring Index. The resulting net nine per cent increase mirrors the previous quarter's forecast.

Most respondents are optimistic about their firm's business prospects, with 78 per cent of more than 270 CFOs surveyed reporting they are at least somewhat confident in the second quarter's business prospects for their companies.

"Organizations are making strategic hires in high-demand areas, such as financial analysis, business analysis and accounting," said Kathryn Bolt, Canadian president of Accountemps. "Firms also are taking greater initiative to retain their top performers who, in some instances, have more opportunities available to them."

Executives in the transportation industry expect to do the most hiring in the second quarter, according to the survey. A net 28 per cent of CFOs in the industry said they anticipate adding staff. This was followed by the retail industry, with a net 19 per cent of leaders planning to increase staff levels.

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