CIOs anticipate hiring increases over the next three months

* Windows and network administration skills most sought after

Take heart if your IT department blew a project deadline or busted the budget. One analyst says those actions don't necessarily equate to failure.

Some CIOs plan to add to their IT payrolls in the coming months, according to research from Robert Half Technology. The organization forecasts a 10% overall hiring increase for the third quarter of 2006, up from the 8% hiring gain anticipated for the current quarter.

Of the 1,400 CIOs polled in "The Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report," 13% plan to add IT staff in the next three months, while 3% anticipate cutbacks. The remainder, however, anticipate no change in hiring activity. Among those IT executives who expect to be hiring, the primary reason is business growth. The second most cited reason for requiring more staff is to handle increased customer or end-user support.

IT departments are in most need of Windows administration skills. Of those who are hiring, 79% seek this skill. Network administration is a very close second, with 76% of that group in need of this expertise. Other network-related specialties making the cut include wireless network management, firewall administration and Linux administration.

Hiring may be heaviest in the Mountain region of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, where the report forecasts an uptick of 19% in the coming months. Hiring is also picking up in the West South Central region of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas, which is seeing an increase of 18%.

Many of the IT posts being added are in the financial field. "Firms in the finance, insurance and real estate sector are heavily dependent on technology to store, protect and report on confidential data and are actively seeking IT professionals to be able to support these initiatives," says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology.

For the full report details, go here.

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