Chief information officers (CIOs) have rated networking the hottest (IT) specialty.
In the semi-annual Robert Half Technology Hot Jobs Report, 23 per cent of IT executives cited networking as the sector experiencing the strongest growth, for the second consecutive year.
According to Vincent Teubler, managing director of Australian recruitment company, VTR, the job market is at an historic low; in light of limited expenditure companies are focusing on cost savings and in-sourcing networking jobs.
Teubler agreed with the report's findings and said networking would be the logical sector for IT professionals to place themselves as it is still an active area.
However, Bob Olivier, director of Olivier Recruitment Group, disagreed that networking is the hottest IT speciality, rating security and risk management higher.
Citing the latest Olivier Internet Job Index, Olivier said networking is experiencing a decline in growth in Australia.
The second most sought-after specialty, according to the US-based Hot Jobs report, is helpdesk and end-user support, receiving 15 per cent of the response.
Teubler said a lot of organisations look at cutting external costs, and rather than paying vendors' high fees, are saving money by hiring people to provide support services.
"We could hire five people for the same price as the vendor's services," Teubler said.
The US report showed Internet or intranet development ranked third with 13 per cent of executives singling out this area of expertise.
"Companies are saying, if we are not going to spend our dollars on new products, let's focus on making products and old e-commerce initiatives work better," Teubler said.
The Hot Jobs Report tracks job growth in IT through a survey of more than 1400 CIOs in the US.
Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology, said as companies develop wireless networks to support a mobile workforce and implement new security measures to safeguard corporate data, demand for skilled networking specialists will remain strong.
Lee said those with skills in wireless LAN and firewall administration are highly marketable in the current environment. Job titles most requested within the networking category includr network administrator, security analyst and network engineer.
According to the survey, the need for experienced helpdesk and end-user support professionals has also risen with 15 per cent of CIOs selecting this category as their leading area of job growth, up from 9 per cent over the previous period.
VTR's Teubler agreed with this finding saying that companies are deciding to in-source support professionals rather than pay vendors.
"It's very cheap out there and better for companies in the immediate future to save costs by hiring dedicated staff. As an example, we have clients looking at a readily available pool of people to have on a $60,000 salary rather than pay just one consultant $4000 a day. Companies also have the ability to be more [selective] as there are a lot of workers out there," Teubler said.
"The only people benefiting from the current market is end users, with consulting firms selling their souls to win projects and freely available and cheap IT people available," Teubler said.
The seven specialty areas experiencing the strongest growth in US corporate IT departments, as ranked by CIOs, are:
- Networking 23 per cent
- Helpdesk, end-user support 15 per cent
- Internet and intranet development 13 per cent
- Applications development 11 per cent
- Data and database management 10 per cent
- Project management 5 per cent
- Systems analysis 4 per cent
- No growth 7 per cent
- Other or don't know 12 per cent