Dealing with the IT Talent Shortage
The IT talent shortage is getting a lot of attention these days—and rightly so. While some jobs are open due to employee departures, many exist to fill growth needs. According to Barry Asin, President of Staffing Industry Analysts, “80% of CEO’s are concerned with uncertain or volatile growth of the economy – 50% will grow but only 30% say they have the talent they need.”
This gap presents a huge challenge for organizations. Companies dealing with a tech talent shortage are experiencing high turnover, lost revenue, and low productivity. Georgia employers are no exception. According to a Dice.com analysis, the state of Georgia ranks just short of the top 10 (ranked #11) in states that rank from shortage to surplus.
According to this Bureau of Labor Statistics projection, a huge percentage of newly created and vacant jobs are, and will be, in computing:
Skill is King
Why does it seem that every company is chasing the same pool of experienced workers? The possible answer to that is because employers all want the same thing. These days, employers are looking for talent who already have the skills needed. Listen to what some of these specialists had to say:
- According to one industry expert quoted in this Information Week article, companies are “seeking experienced business technology pros who can drive and manage IT projects in highly matrixed work environments.”
- Freelance programmer George Fanhbulleh states in a Dice Tech Talent Crunch report, “if you aren’t cutting edge, you aren’t marketable.”
- James Burgess, a serial entrepreneur, reports that he searches out technical team members who combine an impressive resume with diverse and complementary skills.
- Seth Williams, Google’s Sourcing Manager, says “experience is critical …provided it’s matched by burning desire. We look for people who are passionate about coding in general, rather than merely those with a niche skill-set,” Williams explains.
- Rod Favaron, CEO of startup Spredfast, mentioned at the CEO Summit 2011 that “the shortage is being exacerbated by companies hiring employees from each other, rather than bringing in talent from elsewhere. That only gets you so far,” Favaron said. “We need to import top people, not hire them away from each other. In the past, we’ve had companies like Tivoli and Trilogy that brought in hundreds and hundreds of highly talented people. Nobody’s doing that right now. Instead, we’re recycling people.”
- Tech executive Larry Warnock stated in a Market Watch article, “We need people who’ve been there, done that. It may sound like whining when unemployment is this high, but there is a shortage of talent. We can’t find enough people.”
What Organizations and Companies Are Doing About the IT Talent Shortage
One innovative solution to the shortage of in-demand tech jobs is being developed by a group of influencers in New York City. Mayor Bloomberg’s education team, along with a top-tier venture capitalist, are opening The Academy for Software Engineering. The school will enroll 400-500 students who will get trained in technical skills along with rigorous academic education to prepare them for college.
A local Atlanta program, WIT’s Get IT, sponsored by Women in Technology (WIT) is focused on developing women for technology careers. The program fosters collaboration with the Georgia business community to inspire girls in middle and high school to choose careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
Additional ideas organizations are implementing include:
- Forge partnerships and engage with local high schools, technical schools, junior colleges, and universities to help refine their technical curricula
- Create more attractive, comprehensive internship programs
- Enhance company loyalty programs and workplace desirability environments
- Invest in talent acquisition the way a company invests in customer acquisition
- Create training and development programs to fill in the technical skills gap
- Wide their search outside the local region
- Hire candidates who lack the job skills but have potential to develop them (for more on this keep an eye out for our new white paper coming soon)
The common message regarding the tech shortage? It’s not going away anytime soon.
Photo thanks to bgottsab