IT hiring slow compared to IT spending

Even when it's time to hire, it's hard to find the right skills

Take a quick look at reports from IDC, Gartner, Forrester or the rest of the analysts and you'd assume the whole tech sector is awash in money -- that it's hard to get any work done between flash floods of cash washing down the stairwells, from Finance to IT, or the noise of cloud computer platforms being built in the data center and virtual servers being wheeled in to sit on them.

If you were judging by the flow of new hires within IT, the picture isn't quite so bright.

Not as bad as it was last year, but no one's drowning in new employee requisitions.

Overall the U.S. added 192,000 jobs last month, and 1.3 million during the past 12.

That's better than a year before, but still way out of proportion with the scale of the bump in IT sales.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics spreads IT jobs around several categories, so the overall picture isn't as clear as for farm workers or manufacturing or other jobs at which no one wants to talk about your performance on Half Life last night.

It is clear hiring of tech people is...uneven, usually according to specialty, sometimes according to what CIOs mean by "optimism."

The Robert Half Technology Professional Employment Report -- built on surveys of CIOs -- showed 80 percent are optimistic their organizations will be able to expand during the next three months, but only nine percent expect to increase IT hiring. Two percent plan to cut staff.

Even those optimistic about growth aren't that certain they could hire to fill new slots if any were funded. Forty-three-percent said they find recruiting qualified geeks challenging.

Those trying to hire geeks with IPv6 skills find themselves in a particularly tight spot, according to a story in InfoWorld. Despite years of warning that they'd need to convert, many companies find themselves surprised enough to lack the proper skills when the time came.

Great news for those with the skills that are currently hot. Not a great sign for the industry overall that hiring is forgettable except for huge spikes in a few specialties.

Too bad buying is so much easier than hiring.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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