According to a survey released by Robert Half Technology, an IT staffing firm, 14 percent of CIOs say they intend to increase their headcount in Q2 2008, while only 2 percent anticipate reductions, painting an upbeat picture of the IT hiring landscape.
The net 12 percent hiring increase is up 2 percent from Q1, and at a level unchanged from one year ago. Firms in the business services sector, companies with 1,000 or more employees and those in the Mountain and West South Central United States were the most optimistic about hiring activity. For the third consecutive quarter, the networking job category led in employment growth, followed by help desk and end-user support roles.
However, this positive report stands in contrast to the tepid employment outlook posed by some economists and observers.
A New York Times article last weekend pointed to what it called "an increasingly anemic job market" on the heels of six years of economic expansion that delivered robust corporate profits but scant job growth. Following the dot-com crash, the economy resumed growing but payrolls continued to shrink.
According to the Labor Department, even as job growth accelerated in 2006 and 2007, it was not enough to return employment to its previous levels. Among all Americans age 16 and older, 62.8 percent were employed at the end of 2007, down from the peak of 64.6 percent in early 2000.
Nevertheless, IT is still expected to beat the odds. The BLS released its 10-year economic and employment predictions in December; it predicted that job opportunities for computer professionals will grow at record paces through 2016, with network systems and data communications professionals in the lead.
The Q2 hiring predictions may very well be the start of this hiring uptick.