Small IT hiring sprees set for the first half of 2013 are being bridled with a pocket of idle businesses, and tech positions overall are taking longer to fill, according to a survey by technology and engineering career community, Dice.

Dice surveyed more than 1,000 HR managers, recruiters, and consulting and staffing companies in late November across the U.S., with 75 percent of respondents coming from SMBs.

In the survey of plans for 2013, 21 percent of hiring managers and recruiters reported they are likely to hire “substantially” more tech employees in the first half of the year, and another 43 percent have plans for “slightly” more tech hiring over that same time frame. On the other hand, 36 percent of firms stated flatly that they have no plans to bring in news tech hires. Compared with a similar survey by Dice from May 2012, there was a little bump in the number of businesses planning substantial hiring increases, but also a larger increase in the number with no additional hiring plans.

Alice Hill, managing director of, wrote in a summary of the results: “For every pair of companies likely to staff up in 2013, there’s a company saying they’re not looking to grow their technology workforce in the immediate future. So there will be good job opportunities and there will be hiring, but we’re expecting steady, modest growth, not a snowball gaining speed into an avalanche.”

Compared with last year, 55 percent of those surveyed replied that the time to fill open positions had extended, either “slightly” or “substantial.” The survey also indicated that candidates are asking for more pay than they were six months ago (53 percent), but that there were negligible changes in the numbers of counteroffers or rejected offers from candidates.

The new Dice survey results are in line with other hiring expectations for the early part of this year. For instance, staffing firm Robert Half Technology reported recently that 17 percent of CIOs it surveyed plan to bring on more IT staff in the first quarter of 2013, with only 8 percent of CIOs planning staffing cuts, which marks a growth in hiring from previous fiscal quarters.

This story first appeared in Information Management, a sister publication of Health Data Management.

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