Over half of CIOs plan to increase full-time employees in IT to boost digital initiatives in 2021: Gartner

55% of CIOs plan to increase their total number of full-time employees (FTEs) in IT across the course of 2021, according to a recent survey from Gartner. They will predominantly focus staffing growth in the areas of automation, cloud and analytics platforms, and support for remote work.

?The critical role IT played across most firms? response to the pandemic appears to have had a positive impact on IT staffing plans,? said Matthew Charlet, research vice president at Gartner. ?The initial pessimism around the 2021 talent situation that many CIOs expressed mid-2020 has since dwindled.?

Among the CIOs surveyed, the need to accelerate digital initiatives is, by a large margin, the primary factor driving IT talent strategies in 2021. This is followed by the automation of business operations and increase in cloud adoption.

Overall, CIOs are much more likely to expand FTEs in newer, more-emerging technology domains. Growth in security personnel is necessary to reduce the risks from significant investments in remote work, analytics and cloud platforms. Data center, network, systems administration and applications maintenance are the most likely areas to see staffing decreases due to the shift towards cloud services (see Figure).

Figure: Expected 2021 IT FTE Change in IT Activities

Source: Gartner (March 2021)

?While CIOs plan to hire more staff in several areas critical to meeting changed consumer and employee expectations, most will not be able to meet their planned talent strategy goals without also upskilling or refocusing their existing teams,? said Charlet.

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