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Flat IT Hiring

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Few federal chief information officers are planning to hire new federal employees and contractors to work in areas such as IT program management, security and enterprise architecture in the coming years, a new survey suggests. The 21st Annual Survey of Federal Chief Information Officers, released Wednesday by TechAmerica and Grant Thornton, found that most CIOs do not expect their IT budgets to increase for the balance of fiscal 2011 and into fiscal 2012. Further, most CIOs also do not anticipate adding IT staff or contractors in the next couple of years, and a few think they will decrease the number of contractors. In the cybersecurity field, 21 percent of CIOs anticipate an increase in contractors, while 14 percent foresee a reduction. Twenty-nine percent anticipate hiring new federal cybersecurity professionals, while 7 percent anticipate decreases in the federal cyber force. The IT project/program management field was where CIOs anticipate the greatest increases in hiring, at least for federal employees. Thirty-six percent of CIOs foresee an increase in federal IT program managers -- a new job classification -- with none projecting a decrease. Thirty-three percent of CIOs anticipate an increase in the federal enterprise architecture force, the survey found. CIOs also ranked human capital issues as some of their top priorities for spending. After lowering costs, integrating systems, implementing security measures and improving project management, CIOs ranked staff development, retention and recruiting as their top budget priorities in the coming years, the survey found. Meanwhile, many CIOs indicated that agency attitudes on social media have changed. Fifty percent of CIOs said their agency now provides access to social media and encourages employees to use it, up from 45 percent in late 2009. Seven percent of agencies are now developing social media policies, while 7 percent have no current plans to allow access to it.
 
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Brittany Ballenstedt writes Nextgov's Wired Workplace blog, which delves into the issues facing employees who work in the federal information technology sector. Before joining Nextgov, Brittany covered federal pay and benefits issues as a staff correspondent for Government Executive and served as an associate editor for National Journal's Technology Daily. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Mansfield University and originally hails from Pennsylvania. She currently lives near Travis Air Force Base, Calif., where her husband is stationed.

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