Even in a down economy many organizations are looking to hire IT professionals to meet a wide range of current and long-term business needs. In fact, a Robert Half Technology poll found that 12% of CIOs planned to expand their IT departments and only 4% expected cutbacks. Robert Half Executive Director Dave Willmer provides his outlook on the IT job market in coming months.
My company needs to hire web developers. Given the current economy, I figured we'd be inundated with resumes, and I was right—in a way. I have received plenty, but only a few of the applications are from experienced Web developers. Meanwhile, many of the professionals I am interested in expect higher compensation than I anticipated. This has surprised me. What are your thoughts about IT hiring in the coming months? Is what I am experiencing unusual?
Dave Willmer responds:
Even though the IT profession has been affected by the current recession, your situation is not unheard of. Hiring remains competitive for skilled professionals in some specialty areas. For instance, experienced Web developers are in demand as companies look to expand their online presence and focus on Web 2.0 initiatives and interactive Web functionality. Business plans involving social media are also driving the need for Web developers.
In addition, while many talented IT professionals have been laid off in recent months, unemployment in the IT sector remains low compared to other occupations. In fact, 12 % of CIOs polled for the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report said they expect to expand their IT departments in the first quarter of 2009; only 4% expect cutbacks.
Tech investments still driving IT hiring
While its true budgetary constraints have forced companies to put some IT projects on the back burner, many businesses recognize that technology investments can lead to bottom-line benefits, such as improved efficiency, cost savings and competitiveness. For example, some organizations are purchasing new hardware and software to replace existing, outdated systems. According to the IT Hiring Index and Skills Report, 17% of CIOs who plan to hire new staff in the first quarter of 2009 said their primary need is for personnel to support systems upgrades. As a result, businesses need IT specialists to implement and help manage these new technologies, including help desk and desktop support professionals.
In addition, more companies are looking to hire IT professionals who are skilled in applications and systems that can analyze practices, transactions and data in order to help the organization make better decisions. The continued growth of virtualization, wireless communication and IT security means that competition for practitioners in these areas also remains steady.