Economic uncertainty is impacting IT spending, particularly on new hires, according to a survey of more than 200 IT executives in the United States and Canada by Irvine, Calif.-based Computer Economics.
Fewer than half (46%) of all companies in the firm’s IT Spending and Staffing Benchmarks 2016/2017 study are planning to increase IT headcount, down from 50% in 2015. However, just 19% are planning to actually cut staffing levels.
Hiring likely isn’t increasing at a faster rate mainly because of macroeconomics factors and the slow first quarter, the firm said.
“Economic uncertainty makes it difficult for companies to be more aggressive in hiring new IT staff members,” Computer Economics’ president Frank Scavo said in a press release. “At the same time, virtualization and cloud services are making IT personnel more efficient, which softens the effect.”
The mix of IT staffing is roughly the same as it was in past surveys, with the largest portion dedicated to application development and maintenance, representing about a quarter of the staff. The next largest portion of staff is IT managers, representing 10% of IT personnel, and help desk workers at 9%.
While app developers and maintenance workers continue to grow in the IT department, server support headcount has seen a steady decrease in the last five years, from 12.1% of the total IT staff in 2012 to just 8% in 2016.
Computer Economics said the decline is due to several factors, including increasing use of virtualization and automation tools that improve data-center staff productivity as well as the shifting of data-center workloads to the cloud. No other positions show a noticeable long term trend up or down.