Contractors Will Benefit From 2010 Tech Staff Shortages

CloudCloud ManagementLegalRegulation

Expect 2010 to be a good year for technology contractors, consultants and outsourcing companies

This year should be a good one for technology contractors, consultants and outsourcing companies. Over 40 percent of CIOs polled in a Robert Half Technology survey said their departments are understaffed, and while IT budgets should increase in 2010, full-time jobs with benefits are expected to be harder to come by in the first quarter.

One in four CIOs surveyed said they were understaffed, according to a December 2009 report from Robert Half Technology. The company polled over 1,400 CIOs who work for companies with a minimum of 100 employees and found that 10 percent said their departments were “very understaffed,” while 33 percent said they were “somewhat understaffed.” The largest percentage of CIOs surveyed, 53 percent, said their departments were “appropriately staffed,” while a tiny fraction—3 percent—chose “somewhat overstaffed.”

“Many companies have cut technology staff levels too deeply, making it challenging for IT departments to keep pace with demands,” Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, said in a statement on 15 Dec. “Although businesses may be able to operate with stretched teams in the short term, being perpetually understaffed isn’t sustainable and can detract from the overall productivity and morale of the organisation.”

IT budgets are expected to expand in 2010 for 43 percent of companies, according to a recent Gartner study of senior business executives and CEOs, and IT will play a large role in helping to hit revenue targets, while CIOs will place a renewed emphasis on retaining talent, said the report.

“Business leaders are gasping for growth after a long period holding their breath, and they are expecting to increase the importance of IT in their post-recession approach,” Mark Raskino, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. “It is critical that CIOs review business leaders’ rapidly changing tactical business priorities and often unstated new expectations of where IT can help as the economy turns.”

While the sentiment of increased budgets and understaffing would lead one to think that technology hiring would increase significantly, the overall tone is still cautious. Over 30 percent of technology employers surveyed plan to hire over the next six months, said a recent CareerBuilder report on a survey of over 2,700 hiring managers. Over 60 percent of companies in the poll said they are keeping staffing levels steady.

“Although 20 percent of employers plan to add headcount in 2010, up from 14 percent last year, they still remain cautious in regard to their hiring,” CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson said in a statement. “We’re headed in the right direction but should not expect to see actual job growth until at least [the second quarter of] 2010.”

A third of all companies CareerBuilder polled said they plan to add contractors, a trend widely seen in 2009 that will continue to grow in 2010, said IT analyst company Foote Partners in a December report. (PDF)

“As we’ve been reporting throughout 2009, the accent is less on jobs and hiring and much more on filling critical skills needs, with several options available to do so,” said the Foote Partners report. “Skills may be acquired from the inside (hiring, training), from the outside (contractors, consultants), ‘rented’ via outsourcing and offshoring, or ‘given over’ by purchasing any number of managed services.”

Click to read the authors bio  Click to hide the authors bio