News in Brief

IT hiring, new Oversight staff and CBO on workforce reductions

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Survey: More IT hiring ahead

The IT hiring outlook for the first part of 2015 is looking good, according to a survey of corporate CIOs, with 19 percent of chief information officers saying they plan to add more staff, a 5-point increase from the third and fourth quarters of 2014.

Robert Half Technology's "IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report," released Dec. 2, found that 87 percent of CIOs are planning to expand their staff or fill vacant spots early in the new year.

"The first half of 2015 will remain a highly competitive hiring market as IT departments expand their teams to address the three drivers for tech employment: mobile, big data and security, " said John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology. "Companies recruiting for workers in software development, security and networking may find it especially challenging to recruit skilled talent."

Two-thirds of surveyed CIOs said it is "somewhat or very challenging" to find skilled IT professionals. That number is a 6-point increase from six months ago. Almost a quarter of respondents said they expect their IT budgets to increase in 2015, and 73 percent plan to expand their IT spending by up to 20 percent.

Chaffetz puts his stamp on Oversight with staff appointments

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who is set to take the gavel of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in January, announced a slate of top committee staffers that includes Sean McLaughlin, who specializes in technology issues at the Podesta Group, as staff director.

McLaughlin was formerly staff director for the House Judiciary Committee under the chairmanship of Texas Republican Lamar Smith.

Andrew Dockman, chief counsel to retiring Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, will be general counsel on the Oversight Committee.

Chaffetz staffer Rachel Weaver will move into the post of deputy staff director. Steve Castor, committee general counsel under current chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) will move into the deputy general counsel slot. Ryan Little, who has worked for Chaffetz on the Oversight Committee, will serve as operations director.

CBO's deficit reduction options include trimming federal workforce, reducing pensions

Everything is on the table in the deficit reduction estimates offered by the Congressional Budget Office in a new report. It's a politically neutral assessment of the financial impact of various policies, including steep new taxes, deep cuts to entitlement programs, curtailing defense spending and changing the profile of the federal workforce.

For example, reducing annual cost of living adjustments for federal civilian employees could potentially cut the deficit by $54 billion between 2015 and 2024. The CBO estimates that $25 billion could be cut from the deficit by reducing the size of the federal workforce by 10 percent through attrition. Capping basic pay increases to military service members could save $24 billion while replacing 80,000 military jobs with civilians could cut $20 billion per CBO projections.

These numbers pale in comparison to drastic and politically impossible options like $1 trillion in deficit reduction from eliminating the deduction for state and local taxes up to $689 billion in deficit reduction from income tax hikes and $204 billion in deficit reduction from cutting Social Security benefits by 15 percent for new beneficiaries.

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