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Gartner: IT hiring on the rise again

Banks and government agencies lead the U.S. pack in beefing up their tech staff, according to a new Gartner study.

The best bet for finding work in the IT industry could be a job at a bank and government agency, going by a new survey.

According to a study from Gartner, 63 percent of companies in the financial services industry plan to add IT staff over the next 12 months--a greater percentage than in any other sector. The runner-up is the government sector, with 62 percent of U.S. public, nonprofit organizations planning to grow their tech headcount, Gartner reported on Monday.

But Gartner still had good news for those who find the thought of working for a buttoned-down banker or bureaucrat unappealing: Two-thirds of the 160 organizations it surveyed in March projected "some level of increase" in their IT staffing. However, the pace of hiring will be moderate, the research firm noted in its report.

The most difficult positions to fill are those for IT project managers, Web applications programmers, computer security analysts, database administrators and network engineers, respondents said. The most sought-after skills include experience with PeopleSoft, Oracle and SAP systems, as well as with Extensible Markup Language, or XML, the report noted. Mastery of J2EE, Microsoft .Net, Java or Visual C# programming language is also in great demand, Gartner said.

With recruiting on the rebound, companies that want to retain technical workers should evaluate their retention programs, Gartner said. The report noted that companies are now seeing more IT workers leave voluntarily than they did a year ago.

"Although the improved job market presents more promising opportunities to IT job seekers, it may also force IT and human resources leaders to respond to increasing IT staff turnover in their companies," Lily Mok, senior consultant with Gartner, said in a statement.

The survey indicated that companies increased the average base salary of IT staff this year by 3.5 percent, which is 0.3 percent higher than last year. Many also increased bonus payments and other variable compensation.