A new study of more than 1,400 US CIOs found that 11 percent plan to hire additional staff in the fourth quarter of this year, while 3 percent expect cuts.
The net 8 percent result fell short of the 10 percent projected last quarter, according to IT staffing firm Robert Half Technology, which has commissioned the studies on a quarterly basis since 1995.
Help-desk and tech-support jobs are expected to grow the most. The top skill in demand is network administration, which was cited by 70 percent of respondents. Windows Server 2000 and 2003 administration and desktop support came next, both with 69 percent.
In a related finding, the need for additional customer support was the top driver behind hiring plans, cited by 25 percent of respondents. It edged out business growth, which garnered 23 percent. Installing or creating new applications drew 21 percent.
The results show that companies are focused on providing core services as weak economic conditions persist, Robert Half's executive director, Katherine Spencer Lee, said in a statement.
On a regional basis, the hiring picture is strongest in the Mid-Atlantic region, where 16 percent of respondents plan to add jobs and only 1 percent intend to make cuts.
In terms of verticals, CIOs in the transportation sector were the most bullish, with 17 percent reporting they will add jobs and 1 percent looking to reduce head count.