IT 2016: Lower Expectations for Budget Increases; Leaders Begin to Doubt IT’s Ability to Support Overall Organizational Objectives

TEKsystems survey of IT leaders takes pulse on expectations and challenges for 2016

HANOVER, Md.--()--TEKsystems®, a leading provider of IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services, today released its annual research which highlights lower expectations for IT budget increases and concern about supporting decentralized technology initiatives. More than 500 IT leaders (i.e., chief information officers, IT vice presidents, IT directors, IT hiring managers) were polled in Oct. 2015 on their expectations for IT spending, skills needs and organizational challenges in 2016. See the full results here.

Key highlights from the survey include:

Expectations for Budget Increases Continue Year-over-Year Drop; IT Funding Becomes Decentralized

Q: How do you expect your organization’s 2016 IT budget to change compared to 2015?
    2013   2014   2015   2016
Increase   48%   62%   45%   37%
Stay the same   36%   26%   39%   51%
Decrease   16%   12%   16%   12%
Q: Which functional area do you expect to spend the most on technology in 2016?
IT   42%
Marketing/sales   27%
Operations   18%
Finance/accounting   6%
Human resources / legal   4%
Customer service   1%
Other   2%
  • TEKsystems’ Take: The percentage of IT leaders who expect budget increases is at its lowest level since TEKsystems’ first annual IT Forecast survey for 2013. Additionally, it appears that IT spending is moving beyond the control of the IT department with 58 percent of IT leaders expecting other functional areas to spend the most on technology in 2016. As a result, organizational alignment is cited as the biggest challenge IT leaders expect to face next year.

Confidence in IT’s Ability to Meet Overall Organizational Technology Demands Diminishes for the First Time in Four Years

Q: How confident are you in your IT department’s ability to satisfy overall organizational demands?
    2013   2014   2015   2016*
Confident   54%   66%   71%   68%
Neutral   30%   28%   20%   23%
Unconfident   16%   6%   9%   9%
Q: How confident are you in your IT department’s ability to satisfy and support each of the following in 2016?
Core IT   Line of business   New initiatives
    demands*   demands*    
Confident   75%   60%   54%
Neutral   16%   30%   24%
Unconfident   9%   10%   22%

*Overall organizational demands are comprised of core IT and line of business demands

  • TEKsystems’ Take: For the first time in four years, IT leaders’ confidence in IT’s ability to meet overall organizational demands declined. While more than 7 out of 10 IT leaders express confidence in their ability to satisfy core IT demands, their lack of control over decentralized technology efforts appears to raise concerns regarding their ability to support line of business (LOB) demands and new initiatives.

Organizational Alignment Cited as Biggest Challenge

Q: What will provide the biggest challenge to your organization meeting its goals and objectives in 2016?
Organizational alignment (e.g., shared knowledge, understanding of goals and ability to interact/communicate)       32%
Governance (e.g., IT alignment with business strategy and appropriate resource allocation)       21%
Skills (e.g., required skills and understanding of relevant business drivers and technology)       20%
Partnerships (e.g., managing perceptions and creating shared risks/rewards)       11%
Scope and architecture (e.g., IT integration within the company and adaptability to business needs)       9%
Competency/value measurements (e.g., ability to fulfill requirements and measure return on investment )       6%
Other       1%
  • TEKsystems’ Take: The decentralization of IT budgets and technology investments outside of the IT department generates a new set of challenges. While it may lessen the burden on IT departments to financially support LOB- or marketing-driven technology initiatives, it creates additional coordination concerns that could lead to larger issues.

IT Priorities Consistent Year over Year; Majority of IT Leaders Still Expect to Invest in Security, Mobility and Cloud

Q: Which of the following will have the biggest impact on your organization in 2016?
Ranking   2013   2014   2015   2016


  Business intelligence /   Business intelligence /    


  Big Data   Big Data   Security   Security


Business intelligence / Business intelligence /


  Cloud computing   Security   Big Data   Big Data
#3   Security   Mobility   Mobility   Networking


Enterprise resource


  Mobility   Cloud computing   planning   Cloud computing


Enterprise resource Virtualization / software-


  planning   defined networks   Cloud computing   Mobility
Q: How do you expect spending to change in the following areas in 2016            
versus 2015? (Percent of IT leaders expecting increases)   2014     2015       2016
Security   +59%     +65%       +66%
Mobility   +62%     +54%       +51%
Cloud   +59%     +53%       +48%
  • TEKsystems’ Take: For the past four years, IT leaders listed security, business intelligence (BI) / Big Data, cloud computing and mobility among the top five areas impacting their organizations. The consistency of these impact areas over the years explains why IT leaders’ confidence in supporting core IT demands continues to be strong. In 2016, networking is expected to enter the top five organizational impact areas, likely driven by the acceleration of ubiquitous computing, growth of wireless networks and emergence of Internet of Things (IoT) projects. While overall budget growth may be decelerating, IT leaders appear to be planning to allocate whatever increases they receive towards security, mobility and cloud, with the largest percentage of IT leaders anticipating budget increases in these areas.

Programmers and Developers Remain the Hardest to Fill Roles While Security Continues to Gain Ground; Salary Increases Decelerating

Q: How difficult is it currently to find exceptional talent to fill roles for the following types of IT-related positions?*
    2013   2014   2015   2016


  Programmers and   Programmers and   Programmers and   Programmers and


  developers   developers   developers   developers
#2   Architects   Architects   Software engineers   Security
#3   Business intelligence   Software engineers   Architects   Software engineers
#4   Big Data analytics   Business analysts   Project managers   Database administrators
#5   Software engineers   Project managers   Security   Project managers

*Positions that have been in the top five for four years running are bolded

Q: How do you expect your IT staff’s salaries to change in 2016 versus 2015 for the following skill sets and technologies?
Percent of IT leaders expecting increases   2013   2014   2015   2016
Programmers and developers   +47%   +69%   +54%   +53%
Cloud   +35%   +58%   +42%   +52%
Security   +40%   +65%   +54%   +50%
Software engineers   +41%   +67%   +51%   +47%
Architects   +38%   +65%   +48%   +47%
  • TEKsystems’ Take: From 2013 to 2016, IT leaders have consistently agreed on the most difficult position to fill, with programmers and developers maintaining the top spot. Security has consistently moved up in ranking from No. 7 (2013), No. 6 (2014), No. 5 (2015) to No. 2 (2016). These roles are also in line for salary increases; 53 percent of IT leaders predict higher salaries for programmers and developers with similar expectations for security experts (50 percent) and software engineers (47 percent). However, from 2014 to 2016, the percentage of IT leaders who expect to pay higher salaries for these skills (i.e., programmers and developers, security, and software engineers) decreased from an average of 67 percent (2014) to 53 percent (2015) to 50 percent (2016). While these roles are clearly still in high demand and salary increases are expected, the percentage of IT leaders who expect salary increases for these roles has declined over time.

Salaries and Hiring Will Continue to Rise, but at Slower Growth Rates; IT Staff Makeup will Remain Consistent

Q: How much do you expect your overall IT staff’s salaries to change in 2016 versus 2015?
    2013   2014   2015   2016
Increase by 10% or more   4%   4%   4%   1%
Increase by 6-9%   8%   6%   4%   3%
Increase by up to 5%   43%   71%   68%   69%
Stay the same   34%   18%   21%   23%
Decrease by up 5%   2%   1%   3%   4%
Decrease by up 6% or more   3%   0%   0%   0%
Don’t know   6%   -   -   -
Q: How much do you expect hiring to change for the following in 2016 versus 2015?
Full-time IT staff   2014   2015   2016
Increase   47%   40%   43%
Stay the same   44%   50%   47%
Decrease   9%   10%   10%
Contingent IT staff   2014   2015   2016
Increase   46%   36%   41%
Stay the same   43%   54%   51%
Decrease   11%   10%   8%
Q: What is the approximate makeup of your current IT department?
    2014   2015   2016
Full-time IT staff   78%   77%   80%
Contingent IT staff   22%   23%   20%
  • TEKsystems’ Take: Average salary increases of up to 5 percent are expected, according to the majority (69 percent) of IT leaders. Only 4 percent of IT leaders expect salaries to increase by 6 percent or more and 23 percent expect salaries to remain the same. Hiring expectations are anticipated to increase slightly in 2016, though hiring for full-time IT staff is projected to marginally outpace hiring for contingent IT staff. As a result, the expected percentage of full-time staff as a proportion of the overall IT department gained slightly.

“With so much technology spend coming from areas outside of the IT department, it’s clear that IT leaders are taking into account the evolving nature of their responsibilities as they look to 2016,” says TEKsystems Research Manager Jason Hayman. “Organizational alignment will be their number one challenge, and essential for ensuring that the IT department is able to effectively support technology initiatives across LOBs and other functional areas, like marketing. Despite lower expectations for budget and salary increases, anticipated growth of full-time and contingent headcounts points to a healthy core IT team. However, IT leaders should be mindful that failure to properly adjust salaries in a competitive IT labor market will make it difficult to attract and retain the talent they need.”

TEKsystems’ Jason Hayman is available for additional commentary. For more information about the survey, or to schedule an interview, please contact Rick McLaughlin at

About TEKsystems®

People are at the heart of every successful business initiative. At TEKsystems, we understand people. Every year we deploy over 80,000 IT professionals at 6,000 client sites across North America, Europe and Asia. Our deep insights into IT human capital management enable us to help our clients achieve their business goals—while optimizing their IT workforce strategies. We provide IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services to help our clients plan, build and run their critical business initiatives. Through our range of quality-focused delivery models, we meet our clients where they are, and take them where they want to go, the way they want to get there.

TEKsystems. Our people make IT possible.


Vanessa Ulrich, 410-540-3090

Release Summary

TEKsystems today released its annual IT Forecast research which highlights lower expectations for IT budget increases and concern about supporting decentralized technology initiatives.


Vanessa Ulrich, 410-540-3090