Friday, July 25, 2008
Is there an IT Talent Shortage?
There is a shortage of perfectly healthy unmarried childless folk who need no benefits, aged between 22 and 26, who need no visas, who have done a previous job within the last two months so much like the one you need that they require absolutely no ramp-up time and who are willing to live anywhere and work cheaply in noisy cubicles on inferior computers without sunlight.
IT executives need to stop being silly by imposing unrealistic requirements on talent. Fundamentally, I believe even if you ignore the above that we actually need less people in IT than today. Consider how much energy is put into time wasting activities such as governance which allows for increased financial transparency at the expense of productivity.
I suspect that if you were to align all of the IT initiatives into two columns where one column is productivity and the other were transparency and you weren't allowed to practice hybridism as a mental disorder then the transparency column would outweigh the productivity column by ten to one.
As far as recruiting talent, if you accept people over 27, give them time to learn what you need, keep them long enough to pay back the cost of training them in value to you, give good benefits, locate the jobs where there is already a supply of unemployed or contract IT folks, be willing to pay them a little higher than local market wages, give them state-of-the-art computers, and put them in one-person offices with windows to the outdoors, you will have a stampede of candidates battering down your door. No problem.
If a young person asked me, I would advise them not to go into IT. Learn to use a computer much as one used to learn a foreign language or typing, but train to be the one that owns the business. That way you cannot be outsourced.
However, there are more than enough older folks around to do everything you need...