Azzure IT helps CN creativeMore than a third (36%) of UK companies plan to increase the number of IT jobs and technology professionals that they hire during the first half of 2015, according to new research from specialist IT recruiter Robert Half Technology.  UK CIOs say that this growth in demand is being fuelled by the need to expand teams to cope with new IT projects and initiatives (62%), moving to cloud based infrastructure (51%) and product or service expansion (40%). Business growth is encouraging a further 28% of businesses to source more IT professionals in 2015.

The rate at which companies will hire new IT professionals will accelerate still further in the second half of the year, with 41% of CIOs predicting that they will take on new staff.

With technology skills continuing to grow in demand, the majority of IT leaders (96%) are already reporting that they find it either ‘somewhat’ (64%) or ‘very’ (32%) difficult to find skilled IT professionals.  Whilst that proportion is similar across regions, size and types of business, higher numbers of CIOs from the South West / Wales region (45%) and Midlands region (50%) report that it is ‘very’ difficult to find the right IT skills.

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This lack of IT skills is also driving retention concerns among CIOs that they will lose their top IT performers to other roles in the year ahead.  A high majority (89%) say that they are either ‘somewhat’ (63%) or ‘very’ (26%) concerned about losing top IT performers.

Incentives to retain top performers such as salaries and bonuses will come under increasing pressure this year as companies struggle to retain their best IT people.  More than four in 10 (41%) CIOs say that they expect to increase salaries for IT professionals in 2015 while a fifth (20%) expect to pay out extra bonuses.

Charlie Grubb, Associate Director at Robert Half Technology, commented: “Many IT projects and technology-based products and initiatives were put on hold during the downturn, with the bulk of IT budgets devoted to ‘keeping the lights on’ rather than introducing new ways of interacting with customers, or running the business more efficiently.  However, the recent economic recovery has encouraged organisations across the board to turn their plans back into action.  This is creating a stronger demand for IT professionals, which in turn is leading to concerns about losing top performers to competitors and a belief that incentives such as salary and bonuses will need to rise this year. While financial remuneration is key to employee retention of all skilled professionals, it’s important to remember that IT people are motivated by other factors as well, including technical training, the ability to work with leading edge technologies and contribute to business success.  We are already finding that companies need to act decisively when making job offers to IT professionals if they are not to lose out and the pressure on the IT jobs market will continue to increase, particularly in the second half of this year.”

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The bi-annual study was developed by Robert Half UK and conducted by an independent research firm.  The study is based on more than 200 interviews with UK CIOs, with the results segmented by size, sector and geographic location.