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CIO Challenge: Solve Hiring Difficulties, Stay Competitive

A recent study explores the trends and challenges facing CIOs—including hiring IT talent.


The role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) is rapidly changing. Responsible for forecasting and acquiring talent to carry out technical objectives, the CIO also carries overall responsibility for the build-out, maintenance, protection, and function of IT within a company. A recent long-term survey illustrates the changes CIOs must deal with in 2016 and beyond.


The CIO landscape at a glance


In its 18th year, the Harvey Nash/KPMG survey collects input from more than 3,000 domestic and global CIOs and tech managers to highlight recruiting, digital, and other focus areas. Some key findings of the survey include:


  • Recruiting and retention continue to concern: Despite fluctuating job demand, the effort to recruit niche IT personnel remains rigorous. The lack of available talent continues to sideline growth efforts for 65 percent of respondents. More than 40 percent of those responding hope to grow the size of their teams in the coming year—making the talent crunch more intense. With a highly competitive hiring environment, almost 90 percent of CIOs report they are concerned about their ability to retain needed talent. For small organizations, an established company culture appears to provide a competitive edge when hiring for talent and tenure.


  • Gender balance is improving—slowly: Female senior IT personnel increased from six to nine percent in the last year.


  • Innovation is driving technology: More than 30 percent of those responding state they are moving into the Cloud, while 45 percent report budget boosts for IT spending.


  • Outsourcing may be a response to the talent war: Approximately 50 percent of responding CIOs report future plans to increase budget spend on outsourcing. This is a significant jump from 2015 when only nine percent of tech leaders put contract help on their future wish list.


  • Threat of cyber attack being taken more seriously: Data theft and network intrusion seriously damages brand reputation and can leave a company open to liability. Cyber crime is a far-reaching enterprise and 28 percent of survey participants state they have responded to a major IT attack or event in the past two years. In 2014, 29 percent of tech responders noted they were very confident of their cyber protections. Today, that number has dropped to 22 percent.


  • Digital continues to disrupt: The disruption of the digital age may be calming slightly. About 27 percent of CIOs report disruption is confined to new techniques in product or service delivery, while 23 percent name customer engagement as the remaining sphere of digital instability. Up from 27 percent in 2015, 35 percent of survey participants report an enterprise-wide digital strategy in place. For one in five companies, this means installation of a Chief Digital Officer (CDO).


Five recruiting challenges faced by CIOs


In addition to an IT skill squeeze, the survey notes the following points:


  1. By the numbers: The highest in-demand IT skills include analytics, project management, business analysis, and development.
  2. Times are tight: The current talent shortage is the tightest reported since approximately 2008.
  3. Team building: Despite the desire to grow team size, talent shortages will likely derail plans in the next year.
  4. Culture club: Companies with robust company culture and perks are better able to attract and retain talent. Industries most likely to take advantage of culture to build their workforce include the tech, professional services, broadcast media, advertising, and pharmaceutical sectors.
  5. Contingent workers: Smaller companies use more contract workers than larger businesses.


Continuing economic and political instability, paired with fast-driving technological innovation means tech leaders and hiring managers must adopt competitive hiring practices. Strategies for managing engaged, forward business movement include developing smaller, cohesive teams; hiring for cross-capabilities; and outsourcing team building to an experienced IT recruiter.


Sourcing for IT, engineering, and business professionals, The Hunt Group gives you the edge in reaching—and retaining—the resource pool you need. Contact us today.



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