Companies Will Keep Doing More IT with Less Staff: Report

The technology hiring picture shows tiny growth as companies patiently await skilled job candidates. The operative word in -cautious optimism' is still caution when it comes to filling IT positions.

There are some unfortunate facts about the technology jobs picture right now, and while technology opportunities do exist, headcounts for IT in 2010 are not growing appreciably, according to research from technology analysts at Gartner.

The Stamford, Conn.-based researchers found the rate of increase in headcount for the year is just over 6 percent, based on a survey it conducted of 358 U.S. companies from March 2009 to February 2010. Cost containment-the mantra of 2009-appears to still have a place in 2010 hiring practices despite marked increases in projects attached to revenue driving.

"These survey results continue to show a slow job market with organizations being cautious about increasing staff levels, leading to fewer new hires and more vacancies left unfilled," said Lily Mok, vice president at Gartner, in a Sept. 2 statement. "While we expect hiring activities to slowly pick up over the next 12 to 18 months as market conditions improve, we think it is unlikely that many IT organizations will return to their pre-recession staffing levels."

Employees are in hold-onto-your-job mode: Voluntary turnover rates are down to record low levels of 3 percent. The time needed to fill job vacancies has also come down from more than 3 months to just under 3 months, which is an improvement. Over the year-long time frame of the study, one third of companies (28 percent) reported hiring levels to be completely flat.

But what does it mean for workers? It means that companies are being extremely choosy and careful with their hiring and patiently waiting for exact skill and cultural fits. Companies want high-performing employees who will have an impact on the business, and they're willing to take their time in finding the right fit for the few openings they have.

"Despite the fact that there was some level of ease in hiring during the last 12 months, IT organizations continued to face challenges in finding quality candidates for a number of jobs," said Mok. "Even though there may be more people available to hire in the market, they don't necessarily have the right skills for the available jobs."