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Less than half of IT organizations plan to increase staff

July 03, 2018

While IT spending is generally increasing, less than half of IT organizations plan to increase IT staff headcount this year, according to the IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks 2018/2019 study released by Computer Economics.

The survey found 46% of IT organizations plan to increase IT headcount, down slightly from 49% in the 2017 study; 38% plan no change. However, with only 16% of IT organizations planning to reduce headcount, the study does not foresee widespread layoffs of IT personnel on the horizon.

IT personnel are becoming more productive, keeping staffing levels in check, the report found. Software as a service, cloud infrastructure, virtualization, and increased automation of routine IT activities are allowing IT organizations to increase service levels and shed support staff in favor of personnel with skills that serve the enterprise.

Although IT staffing levels are flat at the median, IT organizations are still adding staff for some positions. While hiring is slowing for lower-level skills such as computer operations, scheduling and lower-level tech support positions, higher-level skills show increasing demand. Examples include project managers, data analysts and IT security professionals. As cloud applications and cloud infrastructure take up a larger percentage of IT spending, there is also a need for IT staff with skills in procurement and vendor management.

“IT is becoming more ‘white collar’ instead of ‘ironic T-shirt,’” said David Wagner, VP of research for Computer Economics. “Modern IT professionals need skills that allow them to work with the business to solve problems, not simply to maintain infrastructure.”

The study is based on a survey of 205 IT organizations in the US and Canada. It was conducted in the first half of 2018.

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