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Survey: Most CIOs Challenged to Find Skilled IT Professionals

January 31, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Spanning across 25 major markets, 61 percent of U.S. chief information officers (CIOs) recently surveyed said it's somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals today, according to the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trends Report.

Additionally, the research revealed that 16 percent of CIOs plan to expand their technology teams in the first half of 2017. It also found that keeping IT systems and company information secure topped the list of technology leaders' most pressing concerns for the coming year. The report is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,500 CIOs from 25 major U.S. markets who were asked to provide a six-month hiring outlook.

Executives were asked, "In addition to recruitment, which of the following do you anticipate will be top of mind for you in the next six months?" In response, 30 percent said, “maintaining the security of IT systems and safeguarding company information;” 22 percent said “upgrading existing systems for business efficiency;” 17 percent said “helping grow the business;” 16 percent said “innovation and investing in new technologies;” and 15 percent said “retaining staff.”

Executives were also asked, "What is your company's plan for hiring full-time IT employees in the next six months?" To that question, 69 percent said “hiring only for open IT roles;” 16 percent said “adding more staff to IT departments;” and 12 percent said “putting IT hiring plans on hold.”

However, recruiting remains a challenge for IT leaders; 61 percent of CIOs said it's somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals today. They also cited the following skills as being in greatest demand within their organizations: database management (44 percent); desktop support (42 percent); network administration (42 percent); and cybersecurity (41 percent).

"For technology executives, the start of a new year often prompts the reassessment of teams, technologies and potential vulnerabilities," John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology, said in a statement "IT leaders are bringing on full-time staff strategically and focusing on key business priorities, such as enhancing enterprise tools and strengthening IT security."

Reed added, “Business demands for IT teams continue to grow. Companies are relying not just on full-time hires but also project professionals with specialized skills to meet ongoing business needs and help reach organizational goals."

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