In a Forbes.com article (The 10 Hardest Jobs in America to Fill –
May 29, 2012), IT positions were cited as one of the hardest to fill
positions in America. While this news is probably not shocking to
leaders in the IT industry, it is important to understand and react to
deeper market conditions.
Recently, an IT leader from a respected pharmaceutical firm
complained that he had four open positions for developers. Despite
everyone’s best efforts, he said they simply could not get the positions
filled and when they did fill a position, the candidates often left
after a short tenure, some returning to their former employers.
In the Forbes.com article, issues such as lack of applicants, lack
of experienced applicants and lack of pay are cited as some of the top
reasons for the hiring challenges. Specific to the IT sector, owners,
executives and leaders need to take a step back to evaluate relevant
solutions to the hiring challenges they are facing.
While the nation faces over 7% unemployment, consistently, the IT
sector has been producing near “full employment” statistics. As such,
companies facing critical needs for IT talent need to evaluate the
- Are your recruiting processes focused on active job seekers or
passive job seekers? Active job seekers are either unemployed or have
visibly made themselves available to the job market. Passive job
seekers are those people who may be content in their current role, but
given the right opportunity for career growth, would entertain a new
position. With sub 5% unemployment in the IT sector, recruiting
processes must be focused on the passive job seeker, as that is the
group where 95%+ of your perspective employees are found.
- Is your company culture and work environment appealing to a
broad range of perspective employees? While work environment and
culture have always been important to employees, the importance if these
“intangibles” has grown as generation Y continues to represent a
greater percentage of the workforce. Words like “comfortable,” “fun,”
“flexible” and “freedom” are workplace descriptors commonly being used
by today’s workers, not just your “Gen Y” employees. If you want the
skills and experience of “Gen Y” employees, your organization must
appeal to their priorities.
- Are your compensation and benefits plans competitive? Looking
at base pay, performance bonuses, growth opportunities, insurance plans,
retirement plans, company holidays, paid time off and many other
categories, your organization must be average or above average to
attract and retain IT talent. Perspective employees are resisting jobs
that entail a daily 30 minute commute for average compensation and
average benefits; instead, these perspective employees are accepting
positions that allow them to work from home, maintain a flexible
schedule, pay above average wages, offer exceptional and affordable
insurance benefits for the entire family, give them as many holidays as
the post office, and 4 weeks of paid time off each year.
Right now, the IT sector is a candidate’s market. In order to attract and retain the best employees, companies must be willing to “look in the mirror” to see how they can be the more attractive employer in what is a very competitive marketplace.