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Reality Check: IT Leaders’ Budgets Lower Than Expected; Security and Business Intelligence Skills Emerge as Increasingly Difficult to Fill

Apr 9, 2014 | HANOVER, MD | For media inquiries, please contact us at

Hanover, Md. – April 9, 2014 – TEKsystems®, a leading provider of IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services, today released the results of its Quarterly IT Reality Check, a survey that compares current market conditions to the state of spending, skills needs, and impact areas originally reported on in the company’s Annual IT Forecast released in November. The survey represents the views of 244 IT leaders including CIOs, CTOs and IT vice presidents, as well as IT directors and managers.

Key highlights from the survey include:

Smaller Budgets, but More IT Leaders Confident in Ability to Meet Demands

  • Fewer IT leaders actually received budget increases. Heading into 2014, 62 percent of IT leaders expected their IT budgets to increase, yet just 47 percent now see this to be the case. The number of leaders whose budgets stayed the same increased from 26 to 38 percent. Those expecting decreases remained virtually unchanged, shifting less than 3 percent, from 12 to 15 percent.
  • IT leaders still confident in ability to satisfy business demands. Despite the reality of more IT leaders seeing flat budgets, the number of IT leaders who are confident in their IT department’s ability to satisfy business demands has increased from 66 percent at the end of 2013 to 72 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2014. IT leaders expressing a neutral position decreased from 21 to 15 percent. Those that lack confidence in the ability to satisfy business demands have increased from 6 to 12 percent.

Security Experts Increasingly Difficult to Hire, Among the Most Impactful IT Roles

  • IT leaders find it increasingly difficult to hire exceptional business intelligence (BI) and security workers. While IT leaders continue to rank programmers and developers as the most difficult IT roles to fill with outstanding talent, they are finding it much less difficult to hire architects (dropping from #2 to #5), software engineers (dropping from #3 to #9), and project managers (dropping from #5 to #10). IT leaders now rank security (rising from #6 to #2) and BI/Big Data experts (rising from #7 to #3) among the top three most difficult positions to fill. Business analyst remains the fourth most difficult role to fill. 
  • Mobility and security have the biggest impact on organizations. Security, mobility, cloud computing and BI/Big Data remain the top four trends that IT leaders see as having the largest impact on their organizations, but their positions have shifted since the end of 2013. IT leaders now rank mobility as the most impactful (rising from #3), followed by security (staying #2), cloud computing (rising from #4), BI and Big Data (dropping from #1). Interestingly, social networking has spiked in importance, jumping from 10th to 5th place in the first quarter of 2014.

IT Hiring Increased Less than Predicted, Majority of IT Leaders Saw Unchanged Employee Headcounts

  • Fewer increases in IT hiring occurred than expected in the first quarter of 2014. Just 35 percent of IT leaders indicated that hiring of full-time and contingent IT workers increased in the first quarter of 2014, falling short of the 47 and 46 percent, respectively, that expected increases at the end of 2013. This may be related to the number of IT leaders that did not receive their expected budget increases, leading to a stall in hiring efforts.
  • Full-time and contingent IT hiring decreased as expected. Actual decreases in full-time IT headcount matched predictions at 9 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of IT leaders that saw full-time hiring stay flat rose 12 percentage points (from a 44 percent expectation rate to a 56 percent actual rate). In terms of contingent worker hiring, actual decreases matched predictions at 11 percent. The percentage of IT leaders that saw contingent worker hiring remain flat rose 11 percentage points (from a 43 percent expectation rate to a 54 percent actual rate).  

“Our Annual IT Forecast represents views for the entire year of 2014, so it’s interesting to see how close reality is tracking to those expectations as we exit the first quarter. To date, it appears that budget optimism was a little overstated and it has impacted initial hiring,” said TEKsystems Research Manager Jason Hayman. “As IT leaders continue to see how well their IT department can satisfy their organization’s business needs, it will be interesting to see how conditions continue to develop, either falling in line with or skewing further away from expectations, and how organizations will adapt to realities throughout the course of the year.”

TEKsystems’ Jason Hayman is available for additional commentary. For more information about the survey or to schedule an interview, please contact Rick McLaughlin (

About TEKsystems

People are at the heart of every successful business initiative. At TEKsystems, an Allegis Group company, we understand people. Every year we deploy more than 80,000 IT professionals at 6,000 client sites across North America, Europe and Asia. Our deep insights into IT human capital management enable us to help our clients achieve their business goals–while optimizing their IT workforce strategies. We provide IT staffing solutions and IT services to help our clients plan, build and run their critical business initiatives. Through our range of quality-focused delivery models, we meet our clients where they are, and take them where they want to go, the way they want to get there.