CIOs: I.T. Workers Need Better Tech Skills

By Kim S. Nash  |  Posted 05-09-2007

For all the talk of technology professionals needing to improve interpersonal skills, that's not what CIOs are looking for right now.

Technical skills stand out as the spot where the biggest chunk of chief information officers—25%—say their staff could most use improvement, in a survey released this week by recruiter Robert Half Technology. Project management skills run a close second, with 23% of the 1,400 CIOs polled indicating that's where they'd like to see their people improve.

About half as many CIOs—12%—said interpersonal skills could be better.

Technology is a fast-changing field and the most desirable employees will keep their skills current, says Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology in Menlo Park, Calif. But, she says, if employers want to be seen as desirable themselves, they will find ways to offer workers education.

"Professional development programs also can aid a company's recruitment and retention efforts," she notes.

An earlier survey from Robert Half found that it takes, on average, 56 days to fill an open technology position and 87 days to get a new manager hired. Anything companies can do to shrink the time needed to find the right person for a job will keep the information-technology department running smoothly. "Overburdening staff for extended periods of time also can lead to burnout and increased turnover," Lee says.

Other areas CIOs pegged for improvement are verbal and written communication abilities, at 15%, and organizational skills, at 14%. Eight percent indicated something else or didn't know the areas in which their staff could be better.

A small group of lucky CIOs, 3%, said their staff needed to improve nothing.