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The technology sector is expanding in Metro Detroit and continuing to hire people, says a report released Thursday by Robert Half. However, those companies are having trouble finding people with the right skills for those jobs.

“We’re seeing more technology companies expanding their local presence or launching new websites in the Detroit area,” said Stacey Singleton, regional vice president of Robert Half Technology. “Software engineers, data architects, business intelligence analysts and network/systems engineers are a few of the most sought-after roles and skill sets, especially within the manufacturing, health care and banking industries.”

Singleton added, “Much of the IT hiring is being driven by projects such as cloud-based initiatives, database/data warehousing, business intelligence initiatives, web/mobile development and system upgrades.”

So let’s take a look at the numbers, drawn from a survey of CIO (Chief Information Officers) in the region.

Sixteen percent of Detroit-area technology executives surveyed recently expect to expand their IT teams in the first half of 2017. In addition, 71 percent plan to hire only for open IT roles, 12 percent plan to put hiring plans on hold, and only 1 percent expect to reduce their IT staffing levels in the first six months of the year.

However, these technology leaders are having trouble finding the right people for the job here.

A supermajority — 70 percent — of Detroit CIOs said it’s somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals today. The skills in greatest demand within their organizations were in these three areas:

  • Database management (42 percent)
  • Desktop support (41 percent)
  • Network administration (37 percent)

Hiring is not all technology leaders are thinking about, according to the survey.

Nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) said maintaining the security of their IT systems and safeguarding company information, along with helping to grow the business, are their most top-of-mind concerns for the first half of 2017, while upgrading existing systems followed with 20 percent of the response.

Other top concerns included staff retention (16 percent) and investing in new technologies (15 percent).