CIOs struggle to find IT talent

Finding experienced candidates is tougher in IT than in other professional areas

Is it harder these days to hire skilled lawyers, accountants or tech pros?

New survey data finds it's tougher to recruit skilled professionals in the tech field than it is in other professional areas, including accounting and finance, legal, and advertising and marketing departments. Compared to their counterparts in other employment sectors, more CIOs say recruiting is a challenge, according to Robert Half International.

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The staffing services firm polled 4,000 U.S. executives -- including CIOs, chief financial officers, senior HR managers, lawyers, and advertising and marketing executives -- to determine their hiring plans for the second quarter of 2012.

Among all respondents, 89% expect to maintain headcount, 5% expect to increase staff levels, and 3% expect to decrease staff. The strongest hiring activity is expected in the legal and marketing fields, with a net 22% of lawyers and 10% of marketing execs planning to increase headcount in Q2.

Across all professions, 61% of the execs report recruiting challenges. When viewed by business area, CIOs expressed the most difficulty finding skilled workers, with 65% saying it's a challenge to find talent. CFOs, too, struggle to hire accounting and finance professionals, with 62% saying it's either somewhat or very challenging.

Robert Half pollsters also asked execs about their companies' prospects for growth in Q2 2012, and 91% say they're confident about growth.

Specific to the technology area, 8% of CIOs say they plan to add staff in Q2, 5% say they plan to cut headcount, and 87% plan to maintain current staff levels.

On the hiring front, CIOs cited the most difficulty finding skilled candidates in networking, security and technical support. Candidates with a solid knowledge of cloud computing, VoIP and software as a service are highly sought, Robert Half reports. Database developers are also in demand.

On the support side, high turnover is creating consistent demand for support staff, both on a project and full-time basis.

Ann Bednarz covers IT careers, outsourcing and Internet culture for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter at @annbednarz and check out her blog, Occupational Hazards. Her email address is abednarz@nww.com.

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