IT Hiring Expected to Increase in 2011

Finally, some news from the IT hiring front: According to a survey of 1,400 CIOs from across the US, 11 percent plan to hire IT staff in the first three months of next year.

Although the percentage is underwhelming, the survey, conducted by Robert Half, says this is the highest rate of hiring activity within the past year. The survey also found that 84 percent of CIOs are at least somewhat confident in their companies' growth prospects in the first quarter, the same number reported in the fourth-quarter survey.

Last week, a {complink 7219|KPMG International} survey of semiconductor executives found 29 percent of respondents predict workforce growth of greater than 5 percent. This data reflects increased optimism in the future of the semiconductor industry, says KPMG.

Confidence is not so great in the overall economy, which reported less job growth than expected in the month of November. And the Robert Half report contains some reason for continued caution: Most of the IT hiring plans revolve around projects that have been deferred because of the recession.

Here are some additional highlights from the report:

  • An 8 percent increase in projected IT hiring activity for the first quarter is the highest in one year and up five points from the prior quarter's forecast.
  • Technology executives in the East North Central and West South Central regions will be hiring the most actively.
  • Eighty-four percent of CIOs are at least somewhat confident in their companies' growth prospects in the first quarter; 35 percent are very confident.
  • More than half (54 percent) of CIOs expect to encounter recruiting challenges in the quarter ahead.
  • Network administration is the most highly sought area of expertise for job candidates, as it has been for the last four quarters of the survey.
  • CIOs in the health services industry are most likely to hire in the first quarter. Eighteen percent of executives in this sector plan to expand their IT departments, and none foresees staff reductions. Companies in the healthcare industry say it is most difficult to find skilled software developers, followed by networking and security professionals.
  • Professional services is another sector with hiring expectations above the national average. Thirteen percent of CIOs anticipate adding staff and 2 percent expect to reduce personnel, for a net 11 percent increase in hiring activity.

Anecdotally, executives in the overall tech industry don't foresee any significant changes for the rest of this year. In the distribution industry, orders have leveled off, and most suppliers say their forecasts are on track with prior guidance, which was level or slightly up from the third quarter.

My guidance hasn't changed from a week ago: View surveys with healthy skepticism, and proceed with caution.

16 comments on “IT Hiring Expected to Increase in 2011

  1. eemom
    December 6, 2010

    Proceed with caution seems to be excellent advice.  Again, your article brings very good news to the technology sector.  An 8% hiring growth in IT represents confidence from companies to add jobs rather downsize or even stay with the status quo.  I am crious if you happen to know what type of hit the IT market has taken over the past couple of years.  Where does the 8% increase bring it to?  Are they even close to staffing levels prior to the recession?

  2. AnalyzeThis
    December 6, 2010

    Not surprised to hear that there's a lot of IT hiring activity specifically in the healthcare sector. 

    As we finally start to move to electronic medical records and a more modernized healthcare infrastructure in general — combined with the obvious increasing demand for healthcare services due to the aging population of boomers — well, there's a lot of work that needs to be done.

    IT can solve many of the industry's existing problems. Potentially, IT can help provide more accurate and faster service to patients while at the same time decreasing costs for providers and insurers.

    There is just so much room for modernization and improvement of how information is currently managed basically across the board.

  3. Mydesign
    December 7, 2010

        Barbara, you are absolutely right. After the bad time of recession, markets are picking up in almost all sectors. Recession very badly affected in technology sector especially the IT. Due to this many of the companies had gone for lay down situation and in major case they forced the employees to quit the job or work in shifts.  Now the markets are up and showing a positive signs of recovery and hence as a part of expansion the recruitment is also happens in mass drive. As per the latest global IT survey the It Sector Companies may needs up to 35% of the existing man power, in order to cater the demands.  The same driving force is happening in almost all sectors.

         DennisQ, am totally agreeing with you. Health care is the only field where recession or any other type of slow down process can least affect. Have you ever though, why recessions are not affecting the health care sector. When we are looking globally, population is increasing 1-5 percentage every year. In the polluted environment human beings are more prone to diseases and of course treatment is necessary. Day by day, more new diseases and symptoms are finding out; even without able to treat properly. Many techies, who are doing white collar jobs, are more prone with diseases like diabetics, cholesterol, blood pressure and allied diseases due to the sedentary life style. So the requirements of more medical professionals are high.

         Funny part- During recession, many techies had lost their job and forced them to live in a very uncomfortable situation.  This made majority of them to undergone different types of stress, tension, depression etc. To overcome or recover from such medical situations, they had approached doctors and hospitals for different types of treatment, which in turn made their demand high. So finally Health care is the only field gained from recession

  4. ebabbo
    December 7, 2010

    Happy to hear good news on jobs crisis; maybe another field on which IT could help in recovering work is “green tech”. Heard several VCs abroad are providings with funds some startups to address and develop the topics, it isn't?

  5. t.alex
    December 7, 2010

    Can we safely assume that a hiring increase in IT also mean in other industry as well? 

  6. Barbara Jorgensen
    December 7, 2010

    Good questions, eemom. It looks like the IT employment rate may hit parity with pre-recession levels. Back in the summer, a hiring report put IT jobs at just below 2008 levels. This may not be an apples-to-apples comparison, (the prior report wasn't done by KPMG) but a quick scan of available information indicates IT has made up for lost ground.

    I'll post any updates that come along in the meantime.

  7. eemom
    December 7, 2010

    I think that is a more telling statistic than just the 8% growth.  The economy needs to start recovery back to before recession numbers and then grow from there.  We are not there with overall unemployment at 10%.  If the IT sector is slated for recovery to prior to recession numbers then we are on the right track.

  8. Ariella
    December 7, 2010

    Another thing to factor in the nature of the hiring.  For example, someone I know was working as a consultant for the past several months.  The company where he was placed extended an offer to hire him — at a pay cut of about 25%.  They claim the benefits are worth more than the paycut, but that is, certainly, debatable.  In any case, the point is that this counts as hiring, but the person was actually already doing work for the same company; only he was technically employed by the consulting company at a higher pay rate.

  9. SP
    December 8, 2010

    Its indeed a good news if IT hiring gets ramped up. I guess US is still coming out of recession.

  10. Mydesign
    December 8, 2010

        Sure Alex. As per the correlation growth studies between IT and other technology, IT and civil are the two fields, where growth and employment potential are more visible.  But it doesn’t mean that these are the only fields, where recruitment is happening.  Since these two fields are more co related and interacted with our daily life, we are updating it regularly. If we have a close watch to the market or industry, we can find the same growth level is happening in other technology field also, but the rate of growth is not at par with IT sector. Why the growth rate is less in other technology? If we are able to analyze their market contribution, we can have the answer too.

         That is, if market contribution is less, then requirement of man power is also less, which in turn needs only a low recruitment. For IT, the market contribution is high, so recruitment is also happening in mass drive. At the same time recruitment is happening in other sectors too, but in proportional to their market contribution or share.

  11. t.alex
    December 8, 2010

    Yep Toms. I expect IT hiring means not just IT service industry itself but  also other sectors as well. Every sector is adopting IT service more or less so it is really good sign for the economy.

  12. Mydesign
    December 9, 2010

        Yes Alex, now days IT is associated with almost all field of technology sector. That means IT applications are enabled in all high tech areas and we call it as the core engineering technology. So when a recruitment drive is happening in IT sector, the major portions go to application side of IT and the minor portion goes to core engineering group. Because the requirement for core engineering side is very less, when compare with the application development sector. More over in core engineering side, one should possess a very high skilled knowledge along with the domain knowledge. That’s why even during the recession period, the core IT employees survived. So they are always hot in the job market.

  13. Susan Fourtané
    December 9, 2010


    If I were to give my opinion on the case of the person you mentioned, I would say that the company took good advantage of the high rate of unemployment and the fear to become unemployed if, despite a 25% pay-cut, the offer was not accepted. 

    Renewing his contract would have been more appropriate. If the company didn't want to pay more at least they could have kept the same steady salary. 

    What is the effect this produces in the performance of the employee? I guess not a good one. Where is the motivation? Where is the incentive? 

    Yes, the nature of the hiring is also important and should count before coming up with conclusions. 


  14. Ariella
    December 9, 2010

    Susan, fear of the consequences of walking away from a job offer — even at a substantial pay cut — is what the place is banking on.  They can be pretty confident that a person will not say no to any full time job when so many are still unemployed.  The best such people can hope for is that the economy will eventually turn around enough to allow them to seek jobs with better compensation.  At this point, the salaries offered even to highly experienced people are around the level of what was offered to people with just a couple of years of experience over 10 years ago. And the cost of living has gone up quite a bit since then.

  15. Susan Fourtané
    December 9, 2010

    Ariella, yes. Of course they can be pretty confident that the person will not say no because they do know that if that would happen there is a long queue awaiting for a full-time job for any salary.

    It's true. Also, what chances would those who can't afford a higher education have now and in some years' time as demands increase? 


  16. elctrnx_lyf
    December 11, 2010

    I do agree with you that the permanent position is more beneficial for the company as well as for the employee if they wish to have a secure job. The contract jobs are becoming difficult to get since the number of people who are ready to work with the less compensation in the same technology are available. The trend of contract jobs where particular skill is really a great advantage id not any more valid since the growth of the market with the existing software is really fast compared to any software technologies that are in development stage.

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