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As a follow-up to our annual IT Forecast—a survey where IT leaders share expectations for the year—our Midyear Reality Check reveals the shifting status of trends, expectations and challenges in the middle of the year. As part of our breakdown, we have found that the cautious optimism shown at the beginning of 2017 appears to be lingering, with slight changes to budget and salary expectations.
2017 introduced a new administration to the nation. It is still too soon to determine how the current political climate will impact the economy and job market, but almost three-quarters of IT leaders indicate their talent sourcing strategy is being impacted.
Budget and spending
Given the uncertainty of changes within a new administration, the political climate is causing tentativeness of midyear budget trends. Compared to predictions made at the beginning of 2017 where 49 percent of IT leaders anticipated increasing their budgets in 2017, 42 percent reported actually doing so. Budget shortfalls are being reflected in salaries where we see a slight reaction as 5 percent more leaders indicate they will decrease.
Confidence in IT
Overall, the majority of IT leaders are confident in their department’s ability to meet the demands of the business. In our annual IT Forecast released in December 2016, IT leaders were cautiously optimistic with increased confidence in IT’s ability to meet core IT and line of business (LOB) demands. At the halfway point of 2017, confidence in IT’s ability to meet these demands has dipped, particularly with 12 percent fewer IT leaders who are confident in IT’s ability to meet core IT demands. It is quite possible that this dip is related to fewer IT leaders reporting a budget increase. Although initiatives are being launched outside of core IT, the IT department remains responsible for data integration, hygiene and overall security. With continued accountability but limited control over IT decisions, confidence in core IT wavers. When it comes to satisfying the needs of new IT initiatives, IT leader confidence has bumped up slightly by 3 percent.
Skills and hiring
Programmers and developers continue to be the most critical skills IT leaders expect to need in order to deliver successful project outcomes, and prevail as the skill set most difficult to fill. Following these roles are architects and big data analytics—a slight shuffle from the beginning of the year when networking and security roles ranked in the top three. A lack of talent with the right skills continues to be a challenge as the IT unemployment rate stays down. IT leaders face multiple barriers to hiring and agree that the main reason sourcing quality talent is difficult is because too many candidates do not fit the hiring profile and lack the skills and backgrounds wanted.