M&E Journal: 2017 IT Hiring Environment Was Bright for Job Seekers … and 2018 Should Be Great Too

By Paul Flaharty, Regional VP, Los Angeles, Robert Half Technology

There was good news for tech professionals who planned a career move in 2017: The general IT hiring market grew during the first half of the year.

Most CIOs interviewed for a Robert Half Technology survey said they planned on hiring full-time technology workers. The survey asked executives from 25 major U.S. markets about their IT hiring plans for the first six months of the year. Seven in 10 respondents (69 percent) said they are filling vacant roles only, while 16 percent anticipated also expanding their team beyond current numbers.

Tech executives’ hiring plans – Although these figures forecast a robust IT hiring environment, they were down slightly from the previous year, in which 22 percent of surveyed CIOs said they were planning to add new tech jobs.

This dip doesn’t mean the market is contracting, however. On the contrary, it seems the underlying issue is the shortage of candidates with the required competencies. Sixty-one percent of respondents say that it’s challenging to find skilled IT professionals, and retaining their current staff is a top priority.

Of note for southern California companies, the hiring environment for tech talent in the greater Los Angeles area remains competitive. It’s not uncommon for skilled IT workers to be evaluating three or more job offers concurrently, creating a bidding war. Competition for tech professionals is especially fierce for those with cybersecurity expertise who can help ensure data protection.

In our most recent “Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report,” 83 percent of Los Angeles CIOs say they plan to hire professionals, to either grow or maintain their technology teams. An active hiring environment is contributing to a competitive market for IT talent: 59 percent of Los Angeles hiring leaders say that it’s somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals in today’s market.

In-demand tech positions

-While IT hiring is active across the board, surveyed CIOs in Los Angeles are most eager to fill vacancies in these five areas:

-Wireless network management (51 percent)

-Windows administration (48 percent)

-Database management (45 percent)

-Desktop support (44 percent)

-Network administration (39 percent)

These five areas tie into the survey respondents’ business priorities, which include maintaining IT security, upgrading systems for greater efficiency, growing the business and investing in new technologies. If you have expertise in one of these four areas, you have a very good chance of landing a full-time tech job and a top IT salary.

Rising salaries

It’s little wonder that these in-demand specialties are also the ones that were expected to see the highest salary growth in 2017. Starting wages in data security roles were anticipated to rise 5.2 percent — notably higher than the 3.8 percent overall increase.

Not far behind were web development (up 4.9 percent), software development (up 4.5 percent), database administration (up 4 percent) and networking/ telecommunications (up 3.8 percent).

The role showing the steepest increase, according to the “Robert Half Technology 2017 Salary Guide,” was data scientist, which was expected to increase 6.4 percent above 2016.

Hot skills for top jobs

To land a rewarding tech job, you should know that IT hiring managers are looking for certain skills and certifications on a candidate’s resume:



-Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)

-Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

-CompTIA A+


-Microsoft SQL Server



To increase your chances of securing an interview and job offer, work toward becoming proficient in one or more of the above skills, or attain an in-demand professional certification.

2018 hiring outlook

According to the “Robert Half Technology 2018 Salary Guide,” the IT hiring environment will continue to be extremely competitive in 2018 as has been the trend for several years now. With a shortage of skilled technology talent available for hire, we’re seeing many employers struggle to fill key roles on their IT teams. This is not because there’s a shallow pool of available skilled tech talent. It’s more the case that in-demand candidates don’t have to look very far to find choice job opportunities.

Some professionals even receive multiple offers. Employers will need to move very fast in this market or risk missing out on an opportunity to make a great hire. They need to be prepared to offer above-market pay and other attractive financial incentives and perks if they want to hire top talent. In fact, we found that 44 percent of CIOs miss out on hiring top talent because the salaries they offer are not competitive.

Fastest growing industries for IT jobs in 2018

-Healthcare: IT expertise is needed to modernize operations and innovate to improve patient care.

-Financial services: Big data and digital security are the biggest drivers in this sector.

-Manufacturing: Increased automation on the factory floor is attracting more tech workers to this industry.

The current IT hiring environment could be a struggle for recruiters but excellent news for job seekers. Whether you’re just starting the job hunt or simply considering a new challenge, now is a great time to be in the market.


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