Whether or not Softchoice wins this lawsuit against En Pointe Technologies, they will have made a stand.

That stand is that investment in knowledge workers costs money.

Let’s face some facts about today’s marketplace. Despite some softening, the IT industry is still in desperate need of IT talent. According to various sources around Canada, the country has a shortfall of 32,000 skilled IT professionals in technical areas, and in business development and consulting. That’s a lot, considering that CODAPSO had it at around 8,000 just 15 years ago.

All that Softchoice is doing here is protecting its investment. Developing employees in a great business such as Softchoice takes time, effort and money. Many companies don’t want to go through this organic approach, and so they poach. They take the easy way out. I’m not saying this is what En Pointe does; this is just a general statement about the marketplace right now in Canada and the U.S.

I’ve had some of my employees that I have trained and nurtured be poached, and I can say I didn’t like it. So I can see where Softchoice is coming from here. They’ve also made an emotional response with this lawsuit.

No matter how great the technology is, you still need people to operate and administer it. Companies invest money in technology and in infrastructure for a future pay off. They invest in people for the same reason.

This lawsuit, whether Softchoice wins or loses, will not stop poaching. What I hope will happen, though, is that a message will be sent to those good companies that invest in their employees that there is a way to fight back. Bringing companies that poach to court will cost them money and aggravation. Maybe one day they’ll decide it’s not worth it and start developing their own IT talent.

Let’s hope.

One quick hit before I go. Long time friend of CDN Shawn Snobelen of LG Electronics Canada has been promoted to director of sales.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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