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Midyear jobs outlook: What to know about IT hiring, skills, benefits

Ann Bednarz | July 23, 2014
IT staffing firms and employment researchers released a flurry of data as the first half of the year came to a close. The bottom line? The second half of 2014 is looking good for job-hunting IT pros, particularly if they possess coveted skills. IT employment numbers are rising, employers are forging ahead with hiring plans, and CIOs are confident about hiring budgets. Here come the numbers.

IT staffing firms and employment researchers released a flurry of data as the first half of the year came to a close. The bottom line? The second half of 2014 is looking good for job-hunting IT pros, particularly if they possess coveted skills. IT employment numbers are rising, employers are forging ahead with hiring plans, and CIOs are confident about hiring budgets. Here come the numbers.

IT employment: Steady growth

IT employment continues to climb, says TechServe Alliance, a collaboration of IT and engineering businesses. On year-over-year basis, IT employment has grown by 3.2% since June 2013, adding 144,200 IT workers, the alliance reports. "IT employment has been on an upward trajectory for some time," said Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe Alliance, in a statement. "Given the low unemployment rate in many IT and engineering occupations, we are in the phase of labor market cycle where future growth is more likely to be constrained by an inadequate supply of talent rather than by demand."

Hiring plans: Positive

Asked about hiring plans for the next six months, 14% of CIOs said they plan expand their teams in the last half of 2014, according to Robert Half Technology (RHT). (When RHT asked the same question at the start of 2014, 16% were planning to add more staff to their departments.) Another 76% expect to hire only for open IT roles, compared to 67% in the first six months of the year. Meanwhile, the number of CIOs who plan to put a hold on hiring is declining — 8%, compared to 15% in the previous survey. Just 1% expect to reduce their IT staffing levels (compared to 2% at the start of 2014). RHT polled 2,400 CIOs from 24 U.S. markets for its six-month hiring outlook.

Less bullish is TEKsystems, which says hiring expectations for full-time employees have slowed since the start of the year. Heading into 2014, 47% of IT leaders told TEKsystems they planned increases in full-time hiring. By the end of June 2014, that number had fallen to 31%. Midway through the year, 56% expect full-time hiring to stay the same as in 2013 (up from 44% at the start of the year), and 13% expect full-time hiring to decrease (up from 9%).

IT headcount: Rising

Computer Economics also sees more companies reducing headcount than RHT reports. But, it still forecasts a net positive gain for IT headcount. More than half (53%) of IT organizations are increasing IT staff headcount this year in "the most positive sign for IT job growth since the beginning of the recession," according to the firm's new IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks study. (Thirty-one percent report no changes to headcount, and 17% expect headcount to decrease.)

 

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