Technology Leaders Don’t See U.S. Recovery Until 2013, KPMG Says

Technology executives are pushing back their hopes for an economic recovery and for hiring at their companies, KPMG LLP said.

In a survey of 102 executives by the tax, auditing and consulting firm, technology leaders now project the U.S. economic recovery to be two years away instead of taking hold in 2012, as they predicted last year.

“Companies are less optimistic this year than they were a year ago,” Gary Matuszak, global chairman and U.S. leader for KPMG’s technology, communications and entertainment practice, said in an interview. Many companies had an easier time showing growth last year after the dismal performance of 2009, he said.

The 2011 survey shows hiring remains muted, with 49 percent of the executives expecting headcount to increase during the next year, from 72 percent a year earlier. Forty-two percent of the respondents said their companies’ headcount would return to pre-recession levels over the next 18 months, while 21 percent said their headcount will never return to those levels, the survey showed.

Fifty-two percent of technology companies surveyed said the U.S. market will lead their growth in the next 12 months, followed by China, Brazil and India. A similar survey conducted in 2010 showed the U.S. trailing China and Brazil.

Most of the executives expect U.S. growth to be driven by cloud computing. According to the survey, 65 percent ranked cloud computing as the biggest revenue driver, up from 55 percent a year earlier, followed by mobile applications and advanced data analytics. Cloud computing allows companies to store their files and applications in remote data centers, rather than on local hard drives.

Eight out of 10 technology executives said they expect their company will be involved in a merger or acquisition in the next two years, mostly to gain access to new technology and products. Sixty-eight percent said they will likely be involved as a buyer and 15 percent as a seller.

KPMG surveyed 71 people at software and hardware companies with revenue of more than $1 billion, and 31 people in companies with revenue between $100 million and $1 billion.

Editors: Jasmina Kelemen, Bob Brennan

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