What hiring trends can you expect this year? Every six months, Robert Half Technology releases a hiring forecast based on a CIO survey around their hiring plans for the upcoming six months.

At first glance, our most recent hiring index doesn’t reveal any dramatic shifts in hiring for the first half of the year.

However, there is a subtle transition the data reveals, and one hiring trend that we are hearing about more frequently from our clients: A move from hiring more full-time IT professionals to hiring IT consultants.  

One of the key points revealed in the report is that 22 percent of U.S. CIOs plan to expand their IT teams in the first six months of 2016. This number matches plans from the prior six-month period, and is up three percentage points from one year ago. Sixty-three percent of CIOs intend to hire only for open IT roles, 13 percent anticipate putting hiring plans on hold, and two percent expect to reduce their IT staff in the first half of the year.

Most CIOs plan to maintain or reduce headcount

So, while 22 percent of CIOs expect to increase their team size by hiring additional full-time employees, the majority of executives plan to either maintain or reduce head count. Yet, we continue to see various reports showing strong demand for technology professionals and the ongoing ‘war for talent,’ so how does one reconcile those two hiring trends?

It's expensive to hire full-time employees if you don't have a full-time need. Yet, organizations must still maintain a competitive advantage.


The fact is, it’s very expensive to hire a full-time employee if you don’t have a full-time need. Yet, how do organizations continue to support technology initiatives that create a competitive advantage in the marketplace? We are seeing more organizations embracing a flexible staffing model, enabling them to have the full-time staff levels they need to maintain average workloads, but also bring in highly-skilled subject matter experts to augment their existing staff for peak workloads, as well as fill specific skill gaps in teams. A flexible staffing approach is cost efficient while remaining nimble as technology initiatives move through typical phases of planning, implementation and support.

Flexible staffing is on the rise

The results of the most recent Robert Half Technology survey add further credence to the transition we see taking place in organizations across North America. Companies are embracing a workforce model that maintains a baseline of full-time headcount roles, but are more comfortable utilizing a flexible staffing approach based on workload levels and unique skills required.

Additionally, a variable staffing model is becoming easier for organizations to deploy as more IT professionals are moving into roles that enable them to enjoy the benefits of the consulting world, such as the opportunity to work on a variety of initiatives across a broad spectrum of industries, or choose the projects they’re most interested in working on.

Flexible staffing has become much more acceptable and easier to implement as more organizations are open to this approach, and a qualified pool of IT professionals are available to meet the workload demands.

Find out more about the hottest IT positions in the coming year, and how to attract and retain top IT pros.