Hiring woes: no end in sight, says study

For most IT managers, sob stories about a dearth of qualified employees come as nothing new, but according to a June 2000 report by Stamford, Conn.-based Meta Group Inc., the situation is going to get far worse before it gets better.

The report states that at the end of 2000, some 850,000 IT jobs will be left unfilled – more than twice the number vacant at the end of 1999. Despite the backlog of empty positions, more than half of the survey respondents indicated they were increasing the size of their departments, with IT staffing up 25 per cent since fall 1999 across all industries. Given that growth, the finding that 75 per cent of respondents were understaffed shouldn’t be a surprise. The respondents also made it clear that Internet-related skills were high on their requirements lists and Java skills outranked business acumen, project management, networking and leadership as a necessity.

As a result of the crunch, some 35 per cent of respondents said they were outsourcing large-scale implementation projects. Companies also reported they were using tuition reimbursement (93 per cent) and sign-on bonuses (65 per cent) to lure new employees. The money may be helping: The report notes that employee turnover dropped four per cent – from 15 per cent in 1999 to 11 per cent in 2000, but Meta Group takes a pessimistic stance that turnover will once again hit an upswing to around 13 per cent by the end of the year.