Tech Hiring Slow But Demand For Key Skills Persists

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Not much hiring is expected in the second quarter, but certain skills are in demand

Seventy-nine percent of surveyed CIOs are feeling optimistic about their companies’ prospects for growth, and 40 percent are planning for new projects. But that positive streak does not necessarily translate into big growth in full-time hiring in the second quarter, according to a recent hiring and skills report.

Only 9 percent of 1,400 CIOs polled for the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report are planning new hires this quarter. And with 4 percent expecting to cut jobs, the net gain in hiring is 5 percent, the outplacement company reported in early March. 

”Executives are showing early signs of optimism in their business and hiring outlook,” said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Recruiting efforts are focused in areas such as networking and desktop support, which help keep hardware and software running effectively, and facilitate the implementation of new technologies.”

A net gain of 5 percent may not appear like much on its own, but as RHT pointed out, it does make this the second consecutive quarter of positive hiring in a long time. What are CIOs looking for and are having difficulty finding? They need employees in networking, security, desktop support and Windows administration. From the report: “When asked in which functional area it is most challenging to find skilled IT professionals, 15 percent of technology executives said networking. This was followed by security, with 12 percent of the response, and data/database management, with 11 percent.

According to CIOs surveyed, network administration is the technical skill set most in demand within their IT departments, with 64 percent of the response. Desktop support was a close second at 63 percent, followed by Windows administration at 61 percent.

In other hiring outlook news, online job demand was flat in March, according to a report from The Conference Board, which tracks hiring demand and online job vacancies. Vacancies had risen significantly in early 2010 but have since declined. 

”The upturn in labor demand over the last five months (+ 647,000) is a clear signal that the labor market is beginning to recover from the recession,” June Shelp, vice president of The Conference Board, said in a statement. “However, the recent February and March data suggests that employers may still be somewhat cautious about significantly expanding their workforce as we are preparing to enter the Spring hiring season.”

The bright spot appears to be in health care jobs, which saw a gain in demand this month and are up 88,100 to 627,300, reported The Conference Board.

As reported by eWEEK earlier in March, health care IT jobs are seeing steady demand fueled by federal government incentives to use EMRs (electronic medical records), clinical systems and new privacy and medical-coding standards. 

”In February, the latest month for which unemployment data are available, advertised vacancies for health care practitioners or technical occupations outnumbered the unemployed looking for work in this field by almost 3 to 1,” The Conference Board said in a statement.

The range of jobs in health care IT is wide and varied, but there are many opportunities in EMR consulting, EMR application support and training, and, again, networking and desktop support.


While employers are ramping up to adopt Electronic Health Records … IT workers are looking to augment their skills to meet those needs and to effectively communicate their qualifications,” said Stephanie Jones, senior vice president of the American Society of Health Informatics Managers, in a 9 Feb. statement. “ASHIM believes it is important to understand and support the evolving needs of the health care community and will continue conducting this survey, adjusting questions, to inquire about them.”

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