In analyzing Boston’s most-needed software skills this year, Ben Hicks, a partner in the Software Technology Search division of recruitment firm WinterWyman, noted larger companies seem to have begun projects after holding off since the recession. At the same time, Robert Half Technology reports that more Boston companies are planning to expand their IT staffs during the first half of 2014.
“Many companies are planning for a strong start to the year and are looking for IT professionals to help in the areas of applications development and database management, in particular,” said Kristen Johnson, RHT’s Boston regional vice president. She described demand for IT professionals there as strong.
Fourteen percent of the 100 area CIOs polled by RHT said they plan to expand their IT staff, compared with 11 percent who had such plans for July-December 2013. That compares with 16 percent of CIOs nationally who are looking to add staff.
Most companies still will hire only to fill existing vacancies – 66 percent in Boston and 67 percent nationally. But the percentage of companies putting hiring plans on hold has declined to 14 percent in Boston from 19 percent six months ago. Companies planning to reduce IT staffs slid to 4 percent from 5 percent.
About 72 percent of CIOs are confident that their firms will invest in IT projects during the first half of 2014, an uptick from 71 percent in the last six months of 2013. Sixty three percent said it’s somewhat or very challenging to find candidates with the right skills.
The positions most difficult to fill: networking, help desk/technical support and app development. The ones in highest demand: network administration, Windows administration and database management.
Boston continues to be a hotbed for startup activity, with the likes of Pwnie Express, Facebook and NutraClick hiring there. The deep pockets of bigger firms, however, could make recruiting increasingly difficult, Hicks predicted. The Federal Reserve’s September Beige Book report noted a particular gap between supply and demand of IT talent in Boston.