CIO magazine recently announced that they are conducting a study to determine why IT talent is so hard to find. This got me thinking: Is there really an “issue” with finding IT talent? Or are many employers simply misunderstanding what IT professionals are looking for in their careers? So, I started observing and thinking about current trends with IT talent.
Understanding IT talent and what makes them tick is critical.
Understanding where today’s technology professionals are coming from, and what they’ll be looking for to drive their careers, will put you well on your way to solving that “issue” CIO is referring to. Following are four key insights to help you in your IT talent search:
1. IT talent is coming from a range of backgrounds. From Berkley graduates to community college grads who elevated their skills through self-education, the college from which a candidate graduated isn’t as critical to finding IT talent as you might think. And this self-education concept is something that can help you identify IT talent with the potential to be superstars. Think about it – employers only offer so many opportunities to learn and expand your skills while on the job. But those who truly strive for excellence and want to stay at the top of their craft are seeking out education opportunities beyond the 9 to 5. Then, they combine those experiences with the skills they’ve honed and education they’ve gained during past jobs. So, I encourage you to avoid mistakenly eliminating candidates from contention simply based on traditional education.
2. IT talent is looking for a challenge. Are you noticing a lack of resumes for your job postings? Your position might not offer (or convey) enough of a challenge! Today’s top IT talent is looking for an opportunity to flex its muscles and challenge their skills. They’re either looking for a tech stack they haven’t touched on yet but have worked on a similar project in a parallel field or as an example, for cloud professionals who have been working on a large-scale project looking for an opportunity to work on a private cloud. Mobile developers are also particularly in demand, and many of them are seeking opportunities to work on something truly groundbreaking, particularly in security right now. BYOD and security of employer data is a very hot trend and provides opportunities for challenge, so you’ll see some top IT professionals flocking to these challenging positions. But there is part of this challenge you can rather easily overcome – look at your job descriptions. Are they properly conveying the opportunity for the challenge that is so exciting to IT talent?
3. IT talent is looking for flexibility. The expected workforce trend for 2014 is all about working remotely. The percentages of remote workers are expected to rise significantly. With the increasing transition to cloud-based services and technologies, the opportunity for flexible work arrangements is more prevalent than ever. There are a number of collaboration tools that allow people to work across the country, yet have an intimate feeling by sharing a virtual office. Companies that support this type of flexibility have a much better chance of attracting top talent. And with that added location flexibility, we expect to see additional flexibility in job titles and responsibilities. Rather than have IT talent fly back and forth to multiple sites, they’ll be collaborating online and through video chat – meaning employers will then need (and gently push) IT talent into wearing multiple hats. I expect to see a stark difference with this trend in how IT roles are defined, with a move away from some of the more traditional roles. The roles will instead be geared toward the IT professional – focusing on the individual and their capabilities. All stemming from that increased flexibility desired today and the opportunity it presents!
4. IT talent is active on social media. To reach today’s top IT professional, you must be active across all social media channels. A mere presence is not enough. And you should think beyond the classics like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It’s extremely important to be active on these sites, but IT talent is also exploring on sites like Instagram, or they’re sharing open source projects on Github or Quora. By putting a small taste of your code out on sites like that, you can whet the appetite of top IT technologists, so to speak. Get them excited at the thought of working with your company to really help you stand apart from the competition in the IT talent war. Take these tips to heart, and you might find that the “issue” of IT talent really isn’t an issue at all. Of course, we can also help you overcome your IT hiring challenges here at Palo Alto Staffing Technology. Feel free to contact me directly with your questions or IT workforce goals.