CIOs Report on Fourth-Quarter Hiring Expectations

    Survey Finds Large Companies and Construction Firms Most Optimistic About
    Adding Staff

    TORONTO, Sept. 8 /CNW/ - Technology executives expect to take a
conservative approach to hiring in the final months of the year, according to
the fourth-quarter Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report.
Four per cent of chief information officers (CIOs) plan to expand their
information technology (IT) teams and 3 per cent anticipate staff reductions,
for a net 1 per cent increase. The majority of respondents, 90 per cent,
foresee no changes in personnel levels in the fourth quarter.
    The IT Hiring Index and Skills Report is based on telephone interviews
with more than 270 CIOs from companies across Canada. It was conducted by an
independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading
provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis.

                                 Key Findings

    -   Technology executives in the construction sector anticipate the
        greatest need for IT professionals. Technology executives in the
        finance, insurance and real estate sector also forecast employment
        growth above the national average.
    -   Windows administration and network administration skills are in
    -   CIOs at the largest companies (1,000 or more employees) plan the most
        hiring activity.
    -   Nearly one in three (32 per cent) of CIOs site corporate growth or
        expansion as the primary factor behind adding more IT personnel.
    -   The primary reason given for personnel cutbacks is reduced or
        consolidated workloads.

    "Many businesses are watching budgets closely and are cautious about
adding full-time employees," said Geoff Thompson, vice president with Robert
Half Technology. "Companies that are hiring continue to look for candidates
who can improve technology efficiencies and operate with fewer resources.
While employers are investing greater time in the recruiting process, many are
turning to contract workers to ensure that critical projects and deadlines are
    Managers planning to add personnel also appear more confident about their
ongoing staffing needs. Among those CIOs who said they will hire in the fourth
quarter, 49 per cent said they would be hiring full-time employees, up from 36
per cent in the third quarter. Thirty-five per cent of respondents will be
adding a combination of full-time and contract or project workers.
    The largest companies (1,000 or more employees) expect the strongest
hiring activity. Fourteen per cent of technology executives at large firms
plan to add staff and 7 per cent anticipate personnel reductions, for a net 7
per cent hiring increase, which is six points above the national average.
    Thirty-nine percent of CIOs planning to decrease staff in the fourth
quarter cited reduced or consolidated workloads as the reason, up from 9 per
cent last quarter. One in four (24 per cent) said reduced IT budgets are the
case, down from 50 per cent in the third quarter.

                               Skills in Demand

    When asked which technical skill sets are most in demand in their IT
departments, 68 per cent of technology executives cited Windows
administration. Sixty-four per cent mentioned network administration and 61
per cent identified a need for desktop support. (Note: CIOs were allowed
multiple responses.)
    Networking and help desk/technical support are the two job areas
experiencing the most growth, with 16 per cent and 15 per cent of the
response, respectively. Applications development was cited by 10 per cent of

                              Industries Hiring

    CIOs in the construction sector are most optimistic about hiring activity
in the fourth quarter. Thirteen per cent plan to add staff and none expect
personnel reductions, for a net increase of 13 per cent.
    The finance, insurance and real estate sector expects to see notable
staffing activity, as well. Eight per cent of CIOs plan to add IT employees
and 2 per cent forecast personnel reductions, for a net increase of 6 per

                               About the Survey

    The quarterly IT Hiring Index and Skills Report was developed by Robert
Half Technology and conducted by an independent research firm. First published
in 1995, the study is based on more than 270 telephone interviews with CIOs
from a random sample of Canadian companies with 100 or more employees. The
margin of error for the number of CIOs planning to increase or decrease IT
personnel is +/-3.0 per cent at the 90 per cent level of confidence.

                         About Robert Half Technology

    With more than 100 locations worldwide, Robert Half Technology is a
leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web
development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and
technical support. Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at

For further information:

For further information: Kristie Perrotte, (416) 350-2330,

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