It is no secret that there is a lot of uncertainty in the employment market right now. The national unemployment rate hovers above 8 percent, yet for professionals in the information technology field, the odds are much improved. The unemployment rate in the tech field was 3.5 percent in July 2012, less than half the general unemployment rate.
Thanks to the growth of new technologies and the rise of cloud computing, there is a high demand for IT professionals, and now many companies face difficulties finding candidates for these positions. Microsoft believes that cloud computing will create 14 million new IT jobs worldwide by 2015, creating even more career opportunities in a field that already struggles to fill vacancies. To compound the issue, studies show that fewer young people have an interest in tech jobs compared to the past, leading many to speculate companies will have to fight harder for talent in the future.
So what can tech companies do to ensure they aren’t left understaffed? Read on to find how some companies are finding solutions to these problems.
Current Staffing Needs are Going Unmet
A 3.5 unemployment rate might lend some to think the IT field is doing just fine for itself, but that only seems to be true for current job seekers. Employers throughout the country have several open positions but still struggle to find qualified candidates. Places like Boulder, Co. have so many open tech jobs, they are offering to fly job applicants to the city so they can interview.
So how can your company stand out among the sea of competitors fighting over the same talent? Find a way to distinguish yourself from other “vanilla” tech companies. Do you offer a casual work environment or a fun company culture, complete with a game room or company-sponsored happy hours? Be sure to highlight what makes you stand apart when it comes to bringing in new talent to your company.
IT consulting firm Magenic Technologies Inc. has built a comic book theme into its recruiting strategy, having employees pose in superhero poses on the company’s website. Magenic hired a professional artist to create comic-book like images of people in need of IT help, and the company’s ads for open positions use creative titles like “.NET superhero.”
More Staffing Problems are Expected in the Future
Along with the 14 million new jobs Microsoft is predicting will be created between now and 2015, the cloud expansion may generate as much as $1.1 trillion in revenue a year. How could increases in revenue and additional jobs ever be considered a problem?
With IT companies already fighting over talent and many positions currently left unfilled, a further expanding market will inevitably lead to a rabid amount of demand with very few employees left to supply this growing demand. To make matters worse, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports jobs in the computer and IT fields will grow by 22 percent from now until 2020 with the labor force itself only growing 6.8 percent. An article in the Wall Street Journal examined a problem that will further add to employers’ concerns: Fewer people between the ages of 13 and 24 are interested in a career in IT.
So how can professionals in the tech industry ensure they are paving the way for young minds to eventually fill the existing positions and positions that are expected to form in the next three years? Some organizations are inviting high school students and other young people to join coding camps and other tech-related educational groups. Girls Who Code hosted an eight-week summer program for female New York City high school students to teach them how to build mobile apps and websites, as well as start their own companies. Girls Who Code is backed by several big names in the tech world, including Twitter, General Electric, eBay and Google.
It’s hard to keep a straight face and say that a booming industry with tremendous growth on the horizon might be in trouble, but there are challenges ahead. Many industries are facing a skills gap, but if the IT field grows at its predicted rate (always a dubious proposition), employers will soon have a much harder time filling open jobs.
Both now and in the future, human resources departments and hiring managers will have to be much more diligent in recruiting the highly sought after talent that exists in the information technology field. As the needs of the industry change, some companies might also consider working with staffing services that can identify job candidates who don’t meet the typical IT requirements, but have skills that can translate to a successful IT career. IT will continue to be a field full of bright talent, but as we move toward the future, employers will have to be increasingly creative to ensure they make the perfect hire.
Rainier Fuclan is a freelance writer for Incepture; a staffing, consulting, and managed solutions company with unmatched industry knowledge, experience, and expertise in the health care and information technology sectors.