Show me the (IT) talent

By Dan McLean Pardon me for continuing to be a skeptic. I recently wrote an appeal to the IT professional community to validate through their responses whether there's strong demand for their skills. I continue to hear a whole lot about the wealth of job opportunity out there for IT professionals. And if you believe the buzz, it seems a whole lot of businesses in Canada are clamoring for IT talent. Yet beyond the published results reported in a number of recent research efforts, including our own IT Salary Survey and Job Satisfaction report, I’ve personally seen little real evidence of a general recruitment flurry. I believe the reality is what it has always been: that if you have the right skills, then there’s a job out there for you. Duh! But what are those skills and what sort of experience will garner you that plumb position? Yet another cheery forecast on the wealth of opportunity for IT professionals was being trumpeted this week. CNC Global, described as a “leading provider of staffing solutions,” clamed the demand for qualified IT professionals “has reached a 26 year high in Canada.” National demand for IT professionals has increased 17% compared to the same period last year, they say. Qualified candidate appears to be the operative word. CNC further says “the winners are the job seekers, where a qualified candidate can expect to see three to four job offers. The losers are the employers who are experiencing high turnover rates, longer hiring cycles and rising labor costs. Companies are looking for better ways to compete for talent. Many have begun exploring continental and even global partnerships to gain access to qualified candidates.” It sounds good. But, again, I put it to anybody out there – are employers wrangling for your skills? Have you benefited from what appears to be a recent trend? I had a conversation with a staff reporter this week and mentioned my belief that if there really is a serious shortage of the right talent, then the quest will become an international undertaking. Companies in Canada will search for IT talent where it lives and ultimately end up competing for “qualified candidates” not just for those who live in Canada, but also for others living in various regions around the world. Likewise, you’d expect businesses in other countries to be doing the same – a looking here in Canada to fill their own critical IT needs. But not every business can afford to compete and there isn’t enough of the “right” IT skills to go around. Might the situation spur a move to the purchase of IT talent through services such as outsourcing, hosting, managed and utility-type services? That’s a whole other problem, as evidenced by a recent report from market researchers IDC Canada who say that customers today are less satisfied than ever with their outsourcing experiences. Stay tuned for a discussion on that subject.

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