Title: Regional vice president
COMPANY: Hudson IT & Telecommunications, Chicago
Veteran IT recruiter Paul Taylor keeps his finger on the pulse of IT hiring trends in the field. He spoke with contributing editor Jamie Eckle about the IT job market.
IT leaders have long talked about the need for both hard and soft skills. What’s your take on the proper mix? As the world becomes smaller, so does the workplace. Business processes and areas of expertise are increasingly overlapping, with technology tying it all together. Service- oriented applications and architectures depend on the proper definition of business processes and their successful modeling. No longer can IT stand alone in determining what comprises a system; that must be done hand in hand with the business. Consequently, it is increasingly important that technology professionals possess both technical expertise and business acumen. Individuals that will succeed in this ever-changing market will have a strong technical background, business aptitude and interpersonal skills.
Are you having any difficulty in finding that mix? Are there particular sources that produce more ideal IT professionals? It has always been difficult to find the “correct” mix in any given market. The challenge that recruiters always face is finding the right mix to meet the individual client’s corporate culture. Organizations that typically produce IT professionals that have the aptitude to adapt to a variety of cultures and possess technical expertise with business savvy are still the Big Four consulting firms and Fortune 500 organizations that have very mature IT leadership development programs. However, the best sources to find the proper blend remain networking and personal referrals.
There seems to be a disconnect between the image many in IT try to project — dynamic personalities using cutting-edge technology — and the image the public perceives. Based on current computer science enrollments, the public’s perception seems to be largely negative. Why is that?
Public perception can be broken into two parts. First is the image of IT professionals within companies. IT’s roots are in the back rooms, where there was little interaction with the business at large. While that has changed for the most part, even today, only organizations that really value IT will place the team and its leadership in highly visible roles. The second part of IT’s negative perception is based on the fact it appears to be a bleak career. The decline in enrollment is a direct reflection of the offshoring trend as well as the massive layoffs during the dot-com bust.
While there may be a decline in computer science majors, the number of business students has not declined, and these students will become part of the future of IT. Well versed in technology, these business majors will lead in the development of the processes to propel business forward.
By 2009, there will be 17 million developers worldwide, according to projections by Evans Data Corp. in Santa Cruz, Calif. That’s nearly equal to the entire population of metropolitan New York, a sprawling area that includes New York City, its suburbs in New York and southwestern Connecticut, Long Island, northern New Jersey and even bits of Pennsylvania.
The countries with the most developers in 2009 will be the U.S., India and China, which will supplant Japan in the top three, according to Evans. All told, those 17 million developers will represent an increase of 46 percent from 2005.
81 percent, 15 percent
Increases in the number of developers in the Asia-Pacific region and North America, respectively, from 2005 to 2009.
Most of the computer products or devices that we use are designed by men, although half of the users are women. People ask why we need more women in computer science, and it is because we need more women who can build and design technology products, as well as to sell and manage them.
Professor Wendy Hall, head of electronic and computer science at England’s Southampton University, speaking to Britain’s PublicTechnology.net public-sector news site. As in the U.S., the U.K.’s IT workforce is dominated by men. In Britain, only one-fifth of the IT workforce is female.
‘Thanks’ doesn’t pay the rent
A lot of human resource managers believe that a bonus can consist of one or two words: “Thanks” or “Thank you.” According to Sirota Survey Intelligence in Purchase, N.Y., 74 percent of the 150 HR managers it surveyed last month said they believe praise can substitute for money. That’s wrong, says Sirota, and it’s not the only myth or half-truth that HR folks cling to.
“Neither praise nor money alone are sufficient to satisfy employees,” says David Sirota, chairman emeritus of the company and co-author of The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want. He says the vast majority of employees seek three basic things from their jobs: pride in their work; positive and productive relationships with co-workers; and fair treatment when it comes to pay, benefits and job security.
“A ‘thank you’ from the boss does not replace money, and money cannot substitute for praise,” Sirota says. “All of these needs are critical. There are no significant differences in the three basic goals that people want from their work by occupation, industry, age, gender or culture.”
Sirotas Top Six Workplace Myths:
1. Praise can serve as a substitute for money in motivating employees.
2. Employees’ immediate managers are the cause of most workers’ problems.
3. Employees who complain about their pay are really unhappy about something else.
4. There are major differences between generations in what people want from their jobs.
5. There are major differences between cultures and countries in what people want from their jobs.
6. Profit-sharing is a major motivator of employee performance.
Source: Sirota Survey Intelligence