Despite ongoing worries that an economic slowdown is looming, a new report suggests that the IT professional job market will be immune-at least for the time being.
Thirteen percent of CIOs said they plan to add IT staff in the first quarter of 2008, according to the latest IT Hiring Index and Skills Report from Robert Half Technology, a staffing firm specializing in IT professionals.
This net 10 percent hiring rate is down slightly from the net 12 percent of CIOs who anticipated adding staff for the fourth quarter of 2007, but the staffing firm said the market remains strong relative to the recent past.
"This hiring rate is still a strong indication that things should be good for technology professionals in the New Year," Dan DeNisco, a senior regional manager at Robert Half Technology told eWEEK.
Business services firms led all industries in hiring expectations, according to the report, with the most optimism about hiring in early 2008. A net 18 percent of technology executives in this sector said they planned to add IT staff in early 2008, something the staffing firm sees as in line with services sector activity in general.
"When you look at that industry sector, this growth is very much in tune with customer information flow. There is a lot of demand for Web initiatives around advertising, personnel and recreational services, just to name a few," said DeNisco.
DeNisco said that IT professionals who can perform the tasks that business services need will flourish most in 2008.
"If a person has AJAX or .Net development skills, can do security analysis, network administration or has wireless skills, we're putting them to work," said DeNisco.
Other skills in great demand in IT departments were largely in the networking category-for the second straight quarter, according to the research. Seventy-four percent of CIOs reported that Windows administration was the most sought-after technical skill in their department, followed by network administration (70 percent) and database management, including Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server (59 percent).
Still, many IT professionals take issue with reports of this kind, arguing that the IT job market isn't as strong as recruiters often indicate. Some professionals report long lapses between jobs, and others feel that they are underemployed.
To these professionals, DeNisco suggests that other factors must be playing a part.
"There might be some geographical variance. For example, the national numbers are higher than, say, Florida. But by and large, it is a skills-set mismatch. Generally, the people struggling the most have dated skills."
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