Why Are There Gaps?

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Posted 2008-04-23 Print this article Print

Baseline takes a look at specific areas of IT job shortages.

Why Are There Gaps?
As many a veteran IT job searcher will tell you, employers frequently have difficulty finding the right people with the right talents to suit their job openings because they approach the search with unrealistic expectations and insufficient compensation for what they are seeking.

“One hundred percent, the employers are unrealistic,” Miller says. “They want too much—sometimes they’ll ask for Visual Basic, .NET, XML and Java programming experience, a four year degree, certifications, and then they want someone who has a stable job history and not someone who has been a contractor for six months at one place and four months at another.”

It is sometimes difficult to explain to employers that for every skill you add to the list of requirements, the pool of qualified applicants shrinks, she notes.

“Sometimes they ask, ‘Who else is out there that also has a master’s degree, with these technical competencies, certifications and who is willing to take this level of pay?’” she said. “I say, ‘When you’ve got somebody, you’ve got to make up your mind.’ There aren’t a lot of people with all of these specific skill sets.”

According to Ostrowski, the skills gaps are partly the fault of employers who have been unwilling to train their employees. In many cases, it makes sense to hire employees without all of the requisite skills but to develop them on the job and through employer-sponsored training.

“The age-old argument that we always hear from employers is that if I train my staff or employees on something new, they are just going to go to a competitor or take  another job,” he said. “But if you talk to IT professionals, after you get past the salary issue, the thing they are looking for most is support from their employer to continue learning new skills and technology. They’re not necessarily looking to jump ship at the first opportunity.”

CompTIA advocates strongly that it is essential for employers to invest in ongoing training and development to mold their employees into exactly what they want them to be, Ostrowski explains.

“It is a lot more economical in the long run to spend some money up front on some training or send someone to a boot camp to learn something new or to take a course at a community college than it will be to have turnover among your staff every six months,” he said. “Besides, if I’m interested in bringing new technology into my network, and I don't train the people on how to do it, then what is the point of the investment in the first place?

“If the workers are going to struggle to optimize what I’ve invested in, then I shouldn’t have invested in it to begin with because I’m not getting the bang for the buck out of it.”

*Is there really an IT labor shortage? Some punch serious holes in to the figures.


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