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IT hiring expected to grow over next 3 months

By Jennifer Kavur, Computerworld Canada
August 26, 2009 07:21 PM ET

Computerworld Canada - Good news is on the horizon for IT pros. According to a new survey from Sapphire Technologies Canada and IBM Canada Ltd. on hiring intentions in the IT sector, demand for IT positions is expected to grow over the next quarter and carry into the upcoming year.

Eighty seven per cent of over 300 directors, vice-presidents and CIOs surveyed across Canada expect to maintain or increase their IT staffing levels over the next quarter. Forty nine per cent expect staffing to stay the same, while 38 per cent anticipate new hires.

Of the respondents planning to increase their IT staff, 37 per cent expect to hire full-time permanent positions, 21 per cent expect to hire contractors and 37 per cent expect to hire a combination of both.

The increase in demand for IT staff is attributed to the installation of new enterprise-wide applications (26 per cent); increased workload (23 per cent); increased customer/end user support (16 per cent); and organizational growth (15 per cent).

Application development and infrastructure technology will become key skills, suggests the survey. Applications that will "attract the most attention" include .Net (27 per cent) and Java (25 per cent).

"Application development tops the list, with 33 per cent of respondents expecting IT staff increases citing it as a skill they will be looking for over the next quarter and into the following 12 months," states the survey, conducted by The Verde Group.

Infrastructure technology skills follow second at 26 per cent, while 34 per cent of respondents reported plans to seek a combination of both.

Project managers and business analysts are expected to become key roles.

The survey also found talent requirements "vary according to size of organization." Web development/design and desktop support skills are greater in small to mid-sized companies; network administration is the most sought-after skill in mid-sized companies; and larger companies see more value in IT security and telecommunication support, states the survey.

IT is one of the first industries to bounce back after a recession, according to Sapphire Canada.

"We tend to see technology take off in many cases ahead of other industries or other sectors and we are seeing it again," said Sergio Mateus, president of Sapphire Canada. With over 21 years experience in the industry, Mateus has witnessed three recessions. In every case, this is "exactly what happens," he said.

But the rise in full-time hires is an unexpected result, Mateus pointed out. "Traditionally, what we have seen coming out of slowdowns up to now is that contract hiring, the hiring of consultants, usually takes off before full time hiring. Here we are seeing the opposite," he said.

Leading with full-time hires rather than contract hires is a very positive sign, according to Mateus, which indicates that organizations are more confident about what's coming around the corner.

Most of the hiring will be for what is traditionally considered as the front-end positions within the development lifecycle of applications and projects, said Mateus. "It's very much indicative of the taking off of new projects that for the most part have been put on the back pages of the plans through the recession," he said.

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