IT hiring and retention strategies guide for CIOs

CIOs need to focus on the hiring and retention of skilled IT professionals to meet the needs of today's businesses. Use our resources to help.

IT hiring and retention are priorities for CIOs today. To meet the goals of the business, CIOs must successfully staff their organizations with employees who possess not only technical skills, but also business and process improvement experience. In this guide, you'll find the latest IT hiring and retention strategies to help you make smart decisions that will assist you in meeting your technology and business goals.

This guide is part of the SearchCIO.com CIO Briefing series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefing section.

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  IT staffing steady, but optimism wanes as '08 nears
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IT staffing is expected to remain solid heading into 2008. But the exuberant predictions of recent months appear to be fading.

In the latest polling from staffing firm Robert Half Technology (RHT), 13% of CIOs said they plan to add IT staff in the first quarter of 2008, while 3% intend to cut staff. The 10% net hiring increase trailed expectations from last quarter, when 12% of CIOs planned to increase staff. Business growth was cited as the chief reason for adding staff (27%), followed by customer and end-user support (20%) and managing systems upgrades (19%).

The overwhelming majority -- 82% -- intend to maintain the status quo, with no plans to hire in the next three months.

"Historically, over the past two years our IT Hiring Index results have shown a high degree of optimism from CIOs. A 2% decline indicates a leveling off of that optimism but also points to a level of growth that is more sustainable," said Robert Half spokesperson Cameron Heffernan.

The RHT Hiring Index and Skills report is based on interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from a random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees.

Learn more in "IT staffing steady, but optimism wanes heading into 2008." Also:

  IT hiring spike strongest in finance, real estate
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A recession around the corner? Not in IT, especially in the western parts of the country, and not in finance, insurance and real estate, according to a new poll from employment consulting and recruitment firm Robert Half Technology.

Fourteen percent of CIOs said they expect to increase their IT staffs in the fourth quarter of 2007; 2% said they expect cutbacks. The net 12% of CIOs who expect to hire is down slightly from the 15% last quarter, but it's up from the 10% who projected job gains a year ago.

Optimism about fourth-quarter hiring was strongest in the Mountain and Pacific regions, where a net 20% and 19% of CIOs respectively said they plan to add employees. Web and application developers, in particular those with Microsoft .NET skills, are in high demand in both regions.

Why are these people hiring? Business growth was cited by 45% of the hiring CIOs. IT support for customers and end users was a distant second, cited by 18% of the CIOs, followed by installation or development of new companywide applications (15%).

Learn more in "IT hiring spike strongest in finance, real estate." Also:

  • Staffing for security, risk management and compliance
    This guide features advice and insight from industry experts and practitioners on how to recruit, manage and retain skilled IT staff members who can manage your security, risk management and compliance tasks.
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    CIOs in the financial services and insurance industries deal with distinctive issues, including privacy and security around personal financial information and various corporate compliance regulations. Find the latest financial services and insurance industries information for CIOs, including news, tips and other resources, in this topic section.
  CIO certifications: Do they matter?
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The top three certifications that senior IT executives are enrolled in or planned to take are project management, IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) and Six Sigma, according to the recent SearchCIO.com salary survey. Other certifications listed included Certified Information Security Manager, Certified Information Systems Auditor, Certified Information Systems Security Professional and even the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license.

But talk to CIOs, former CIOs and recruiters who focus on the IT industry, and they agree that certifications generally have no bearing on who occupies the top job within the IT department.

"We get requests about certifications or specific experience 10% or less of the time," said Jon Davis, director of western operations at Matrix Resources Inc., an Atlanta-based IT staffing and solutions provider. "More often than not, companies are looking for functional experience."

Companies will ask for a CPA from time to time or someone versed in Six Sigma or some other improvement methodology if that's part of the company culture, Davis said. However, employers are more interested in people who understand the role of technology and how to turn that into a competitive advantage.

Find out more in "CIO certifications: Do they matter?." Also:

  IT execs with business experience on the rise
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Is the divide between business and IT professionals starting to close? Anybody who lives or works in an Internet-enabled corner of the globe understands that IT isn't an island unto itself. IT hardware, software and networks permeate commerce. But the notion of an IT underclass of mechanics, good for keeping company systems tuned up but clueless about how to actually drive the business, persists.

Maybe not for long.

In our SearchCIO.com salary survey, nearly three-quarters of the 441 respondents -- 73% -- said they have experience in non-IT departments or functions; 30% have MBAs. The numbers reinforce mounting anecdotal evidence, as well as industry data, indicating that an increasing number of CIOs are gaining business experience, encouraging their employees to get business experience and training business employees in IT.

Survey respondent Morian Eberhard, who has a degree in computer information systems and an MBA, grasped the connection between IT and business in the early 1990s at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, Calif.

Learn more in "Salary Report: IT execs with business experience on the rise." Also:

  More resources
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This was first published in January 2008

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