About half of businesses expect to increase their hiring of IT staff during 2015, according to a global survey of 1,507 business and IT executives, conducted by CompTIA.
The most bullish hiring forecasts come from large organizations (500 or more employees), where 57 percent expect to add staff this year, and companies in countries with maturing economics (63 percent).
The report also found that the large majority of organizations (92 percent) say their IT staff has engaged in some type of training over the past year—up considerably from the 2013 study, when the figure was 72 percent.
"The research indicates many businesses report wanting to free up their IT staff to work on more strategic or bottom line-oriented initiatives," Tim Herbert, vice president of research and market intelligence at CompTIA, told eWEEK. "In this situation a business may decide to outsource basic IT maintenance duties to a managed services provider, which could be considered an investment in automation. Similarly, a business may make the decision to shift on-premises systems to the cloud, which could lead to the automation of certain functions. To date, there has not been much evidence that these developments have resulted in cutbacks in IT staffing."
However, opportunities created by the accelerated pace of innovation are offset to some degree by the challenges of trying to keep up. Just 15 percent of companies report being exactly where they want to be with technology utilization.
Another 41 percent say they're very close, but that still leaves a significant number of businesses needing to improve on many fronts of technology.
Among participants in the study, India leads the way, with companies expecting to increase IT spending by 6.9 percent on average in 2015. For U.S. companies surveyed, the planned average increase in 2015 IT spending is 5.4 percent.
"Security is an increasingly expansive and complex topic," Herbert said. "Many businesses struggle with what needs to be covered in security policy, how to keep the policy current and how to strike the right balance with enforcement, allowing employees to get the most out of technology while also safeguarding the company."
Overall, nearly one-quarter of all firms (23 percent) say they'll hike IT spending by 10 percent or more, which includes spending on IT security initiatives, as well as investment in the Internet of things (IoT).
"There is a tremendous amount of innovation in the IoT space, which is exciting. But it also means you don't always know what you're getting with new market entrants," Herbert said. "This is especially true with many of the consumer-oriented IoT technologies, which may not be designed with enterprise-level security in mind. An IT administrator may view a new IoT device as just another endpoint on the corporate network without fully realizing the security implications. Many businesses experimenting with IoT often use a sandboxing approach to avoid any surprises."