IT team growth survey concept.
Image: metamorworks/Shutterstock

Large enterprise CIOs — 81% of them — plan to increase their IT headcount in 2023, according to a new Gartner study.

“Even with advances in AI, Gartner predicts that the global job impact will be neutral in the next several years due to enterprise adoption lags, implementation times and learning curves,” said Jose Ramirez, senior principal analyst at Gartner, in a press release.

Jump to:

Why CIOs plan to increase IT headcount

Companies working on digital transformation rely on full-time IT workers to do it, Gartner reported. Full-time IT employees perform 56% of this work. Another 21% is done by IT contractors or part-time employees, 9% by IT consultants and 4% by IT gig workers.

IT leaders are being asked to take on large projects, and sometimes they do not have enough people to work on them. Of the CIOs surveyed, 67% said they plan to increase their IT headcount by at least 10% to help their company’s overall digital transformation.

“Enterprises have undertaken various digital initiatives over the past two years, with operational excellence and customer or citizen experience being the most popular,” said Ramirez in the press release. “Still, these initiatives often do not meet enterprise needs quickly enough.”

However, some large enterprises ran into problems: 41% reported hiring for IT roles has slowed, 35% said that their overall IT budget has decreased and 29% noted that there’s an IT hiring freeze in their organization.

The effect of AI on the job market

Gartner’s prediction that the global job impact of AI technology will be “neutral” acts as a counterpoint to predictions such as the University of Pennsylvania’s and OpenAI’s claims that AI will replace 20% of human workers. Of the large enterprise CIOs surveyed, only 4% said they use “AI-augmented workers” today.

The world of AI in the IT workforce is still developing, and some details have yet to be determined.

“While investments in AI technology and the need for AI skills are expected to grow significantly, there are concerns around the potential legal issues that may arise from generative AI, such as copyright infringement and confidential information breaches,” Ramirez added in an email to TechRepublic.

SEE: Many executives are increasing spending on artificial intelligence like ChatGPT. (TechRepublic)

Automation and AI-augmented work account for just over 9% of the work done under the IT purview today, the CIOs reported.

At the same time, 46% of CIOs plan to automate some or all of their workflow to free up IT time.

What CIOs look for as they hire IT roles

In response, the CIOs surveyed try to hire from wider geographic areas or to relax some hiring requirements, such as “hiring early-career technologists,” Ramirez said in the press release.

The most in-demand IT skills, according to CIOs at large enterprises, are:

  • Cybersecurity.
  • Cloud platforms.
  • Customer or user experience.

The most important elements that determine whether a person is qualified for the IT team are technical skills, soft skills such as communication and relationship management and the right fit for the company culture.

Nearly half (47%) of the surveyed CIOs plan to invest in training programs to upskill and reskill IT staff. They want to do so in order to make sure the teams match up with the roles, soft and technical skills and capacity the enterprise wants in order to meet business objectives.

Of the surveyed CIOs, 46% plan to establish fusion teams. In fusion teams, stakeholders include technical and business personnel and focus on cross-disciplinary business success.

Ramirez stated in the press release that a blended team of technical and business stakeholders can “ensure that IT has relevant roles, skills and capacity to meet enterprise objectives.”

Survey methodology

The survey was conducted among 501 respondents; 183 of them were large enterprise CIOs at enterprises with a total annual revenue of $1 billion USD or more in the North America, EMEA and APAC regions. The survey ran from October through November 2022.

Subscribe to the Executive Briefing Newsletter

Discover the secrets to IT leadership success with these tips on project management, budgets, and dealing with day-to-day challenges. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays

Subscribe to the Executive Briefing Newsletter

Discover the secrets to IT leadership success with these tips on project management, budgets, and dealing with day-to-day challenges. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays