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Pressure grows for IT spending, hiring, but goods, workers won't come easy

Roy Harris | Dec. 16, 2011
Technology-related investments and IT hiring are high on the shopping lists for U.S. companies at year-end. But that very rush into tech likely will increase the bottlenecks and shortages for both goods and people.

Technology-related investments and IT hiring are high on the shopping lists for U.S. companies at year-end. But that very rush into tech likely will increase the bottlenecks and shortages for both goods and people.

The optimistic side of the equation was spelled out in the latest CDW IT Monitor report. CDW, which provides tech products and services to businesses, found in its survey that 62% of IT decision-makers --- already adding people at record levels this year -- are looking to hire in the next six months. They are targeting programmers, developers and engineers, among others, according to the survey. It measured the appetite for IT hiring as most strong among corporations, with 64% of corporate hirers looking for more employees, compared with 28% of those in government.

Among technology decision-makers, 20% "anticipate hiring additional IT staff in the next six months, the highest percentage in almost a year," Neal Campbell, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of CDW, said in comments prepared for CFOworld. He added, "As 2012 draws near, many IT leaders are feeling optimistic as significant IT projects are getting top billing within their organizations. The survey findings demonstrate confidence among IT decision-makers that business-critical investments in hardware and IT solutions will be high priorities next year."

'Intense' Competition for Talent

Among those raising a cautious note, though, is Aftab Jamil, partner and national director of the technology and life-sciences practice for BDO USA LLP, the accounting, tax, and financial advisory firm.

"I have read the CDW report and agree that demand for qualified technical resources has picked up," he told CFOworld.com. But "one should keep in mind that competition for the right talent is intense, and therefore finding and successfully recruiting the top talent is not a straight forward task."

While IT budgets may be increasing, "in the next few months a number of technology companies might expect a bumpy ride due to supply chain issues," he said. "Intel just lowered their outlook for the quarter because computer manufacturers cannot get enough disk drives due to Thailand flood issues, and if manufacturers of hardware cannot operate due to disk drive shortages, semiconductor companies may not be able to sell their chips. However, this is expected to be a short term issue, and barring no new challenges, it should rectify itself within the next couple of quarters."

Hardware Yes, Software No

BDO also cautioned that talent wars are heating up, not just in Silicon Valley, but in U.S. tech hubs everywhere. And in addition to supply-chain interruptions causing problems in Asia, certain technology sectors -- like "clean tech," for one -- present special problems.

 

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