The right stuff: DC area companies ready to hire, struggle to fill IT jobs

WASHINGTON — Technology companies in the D.C. area plan to increase hiring in the second half of 2017, although many still struggle to find candidates with the right skills to fill existing openings.

Robert Half Technology’s latest IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report found that 23 percent of the region’s chief information officers plan to add full-time technology professionals to their teams in the next six months, up 7 percent from the same survey conducted in December.

An additional 61 percent expect to maintain staff levels by filling vacant roles, but 68 percent of the region’s chief information officers said that it is now somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals in today’s market.

“Local businesses continue to move forward with new IT projects and are optimistic about hiring,” said Chris Brinkman, regional manager for Robert Half Technology in D.C.

“Cybersecurity continues to be a driver in the D.C. market as many companies are looking to optimize and upgrade their infrastructure and operating systems to combat cyber criminals,” he said.

According to respondents, the skills in greatest demand in D.C. are:

  • Business intelligence and reporting services
  • Desktop support
  • Telecommunications support
  • Network administration
  • Wireless network management

Top priorities for area tech firms this year include upgrading existing systems, staff retention, innovation, helping grow the business, and investing in new technologies.

“Unemployment rates in Washington, D.C., for skilled IT labor are among the lowest in the country,” Brinkman said. “Because of that, skilled IT professionals with a well-rounded background will have multiple offers to choose from.”

Nearly a third of respondents said that more businesses are moving to the area and creating jobs in technology and that is driving the demand for IT talent in the region.

Robert Half Technology interviewed 2,500 CIOs in the 25 largest U.S. metro areas, including 100 CIOs based in the D.C. region.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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