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Is There Really an IT Talent Shortage?

Jul 29 , 2015

IT talentIf you talk to IT hiring managers and their colleagues, many would probably tell you that there is a definite shortage of the kind of candidates they need to fill positions in their companies. An Information Week study yielded 73-88% of respondents who indicated a talent shortage in one or more areas of information technology, depending on the size of the business.

When businesses try to find workers with specialized skills to work on specific projects within the company, they often come up empty-handed or end up taking much longer to recruit workers with appropriate skills to fill the positions. Some companies have begun to bring in workers from overseas on H-1B temporary visas to get projects accomplished in a timely manner. Thes e foreign guest workers are relatively inexpensive, and would not be granted visas without the perceived talent shortage.

But is there really a talent shortage when it comes to IT staffing?

On the other side of the hiring table, American job hunters seem to be having similar struggles finding jobs that make use of their skills. Some consultants' assessments are that qualified candidates do exist for needed jobs, but that companies are making key mistakes in their recruiting and talent searches.

Laurianne McLaughlin of Information Week has identified these key contributing factors on the part of employers:

--Identifying mid-career jobs as entry level jobs. This is commonly done in order to pay less salary, but it cuts out more experienced workers with the skills the job actually requires. Computer science professor Norman Matloff labels this as "age discrimination," but the end result is companies that don't find what they say they are looking for.

--The "purple squirrel" hunt. In this scenario, hiring managers describe a position in such a way that no candidate can satisfy all of the requirements. The reason HR gives for using this tactic is that they need to thin out the huge pile of applicants they have - which lends further credence to the viewpoint that a talent shortage does not in fact exist.

--Hiring managers are unwilling to hire candidates with the temperament and intelligence to do the job and then train them with the specific skills needed. When a team project needs an immediate influx of workers, taking the best available candidates and letting the rest of the team get up to speed is a workable game plan that too many employers reject.

--Poor communication between HR departments and the rest of the company can also contribute to poorly written job descriptions that fail to yield viable candidates. If the left hand doesn't know what the right hand wants, neither hand is likely to find it.

IT talentDespite these dynamics, company CIOs continue to lament the lack of talent and have their own reasons for suspecting a shortage. A recent Career Builder survey found that 63% of hiring managers reported catching applicants lying on their resumes. Most candidates lack the kind of deep experience that may be needed for some positions, others claim, suggesting that the dot com bubble burst in 2007 scared away many students from pursuing IT degrees. Other CIOS hold positions open so long that candidates worry something must be wrong with the company and are understandably gun-shy.

The complexity of the IT talent issue hurts both employers and those looking for work, but getting the issue straightened out may take some adjustments on both sides of the hiring table.

GDH Consulting uses tried and true recruiting tools and techniques to help IT companies find the best candidates for all their IT staffing needs. Contact us today to see how they can help you navigate the complexity of the IT staffing environment.