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ERP, CRM drive modest hiring gains in tight market

CIOs are hiring, but for very specific purposes -- and according to a new survey, it's likely they'll have to up the ante in order to get the very best talent.

More CIOs will be hiring this summer than last, but according to a new survey many will have a tough time recruiting top talent.

For the most part, business growth is driving the modest uptick and is cited by 44% of the 1,400 CIOs surveyed by Robert Half Technology, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based IT staffing firm. Thirteen percent said they would add IT staff during the next three months, while 3% said they would make cuts.

Brian Gabrielson, national practice director at Robert Half, described the IT job market as "not quite dot-com-esque, but it's close."

Still the net percentage of CIOs looking to add staff is down slightly from a year ago, and is still down from a five-year peak of 15% in the fourth quarter of 2001.

Gabrielson said the market for adding staff is highly competitive today.

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"You're looking at some markets where there is a 48- to 72-hour turnaround from application to offer. Some people are receiving multiple offers. Those companies that have not adjusted their [hiring] practices are suffering."

Gabrielson said CIOs who are looking to add top talent need to look at their hiring practices and find ways to speed up the process without sacrificing quality.

"We talked to a client whose hiring time from the job posting to having someone walking into the door was nine weeks. Nine weeks is an awful long time to live without somebody."

Staffing for CRM, ERP deployment

Twenty-three percent said they were adding staff to provide customer support, and 13% said they needed personnel to help with the installation of an ERP system.

The study found that the finance, insurance and real estate industries were seeing the strongest growth in IT employment, with a net 15% of CIOs looking to expand. The transportation industry is also strong at 14%. The construction and wholesale industries will be weakest, with a net 2% and 3% of CIOs respectively looking to add staff.

Microsoft Windows administrators are the most in demand, with 79% of CIOs saying their IT departments need people with such skills. Also, 76% of CIOs reported a need for network administrators and 69% needed database managers.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Shamus McGillicuddy, News Writer

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