IT hiring for the rest of the year will likely be as steady as it was at the beginning of 2014, a new survey of Canadian CIOs suggests.

According to Robert Half Technology, 14 per cent of CIOs here who responded to a survey expect to expand their teams in the last half of the year. That represents a two-point increase from the previous survey done by the firm, the company said in a release this morning.

On the other hand another 67 per cent of those surveyed expect to hire only for open IT roles, compared to 74 per cent in the first six months of the year — a seven-point decrease. But note that 17 per cent of technology executives plan to put their hiring on hold through the rest of the year (up from 9 per cent at the beginning of the year).

Only one per cent of respondents expect to reduce their IT staffing levels in the second half of the year.

Half of Canadian technology executives said that network administration tops the list of skills sets in greatest demand, followed by wireless network management and desktop support.

“The second half of 2014 will continue to be a busy time for hiring within many IT departments, with a focus on adding skilled technology professionals for either newly created or existing open positions,” said Deborah Bottineau, senior regional manager of Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group, in a statement.

“Though confidence is strong regarding the need for technology staff, finding the required specialized talent is expected to be the most challenging when filling positions in the areas of networking, security and applications development.”

The hiring projections for the first half and second half of 2014 are based on interviews with more than 270 CIOs in major Canadian markets who were asked to provide a six-month hiring outlook.

Asked about the ease of recruiting technology talent, 27 per cent of Canadian CIOs said it is somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals. This is a 15-point drop compared to the first half of the year. Technology executives surveyed report that it is most difficult to find skilled talent in the functional areas of networking (10 per cent),security (nine per cent) and applications development (six per cent).

The survey also suggests that CIOs continue to be optimistic about their companies’ growth and plans for IT investments. Eighty-two per cent reported being somewhat or very confident about their companies’ growth prospects for the last six months of 2014. This compares to 88 per cent for the first half of the year.

Sixty-three per cent of CIOs said they are confident that their firms will invest in IT projects in the next six months. This compares to 64 per cent in the first half of 2014. Most of those upcoming investments will be in hardware upgrades (18 per cent) and software upgrades (16 per cent).

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