Talent management firm Robert Half Technology says 15 percent of chief information officers in the greater Raleigh metro area plan to increase information technology-related hiring over the next six months.

That’s up sharply from 9 percent for the first half of this year.

The news follows other indicators of an improving IT job market in North Carolina, such as the recent North Carolina Technology Association’s monthly jobs report which indicated an increase in open jobs in May.

Talent management firm Manpower just two weeks ago labeled hiring in the Raleigh area as “bullish.”

Companies such as Cisco and NetApp have also announced hiring plans. 

Recent WRAL TechWire reporting on jobs:

  • Manpower: Hiring will be ‘bullish” in Raleigh area
  • IT job openings on the rise in N.C.

However, CIOs also say finding talented workers remains a challenge.

In its IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report issued Wednesday morning, Robert Half says its survey of 100 CIOs in and around Raleigh that nearly 90 percent are optimistic about their firms’ futures. That’s up 5 percent from the previous survey.

That optimism means more jobs, and 91 percent of the CIOs plan to either add or keep retain IT-related positions. Only 1 percent are planning to cut staff while 7 percent have delayed hiring plans. That percentage is down from 23 percent for the first half of the year. 

However, filling open positions is a problem. Some 64 percent of the CIOs said it is “somewhat or very challenging” to find skilled people.

Hardest skills to find:

  • Networking (29 percent)
  • Applications development (19 percent)
  • Help desk/technical support (11 percent)

Key areas of demand include:

  • Desktop support (60 percent)
  • Network administration (53 percent)
  • Wireless network management (44) percent)

“An uptick in automation projects and software upgrade initiatives is driving the need for skilled IT professionals in Raleigh,” said Zane Sosna, the Raleigh branch manager of Robert Half Technology, in a statement.

“A number of healthcare and SaaS [software as a service] companies, in particular, are adding to the opportunities available, especially for tech professionals with Microsoft-oriented software development skills and a deep knowledge of automation or process improvement skills,” Sosna added.

However, in one potential negative, 66 percent of CIOs said they were confident that their firms would invest in IT projects through the rest of the year. That’s down 4 percentage points from the first half of the year.