Technical Recruiting: A Thing of the Past?

Many technical recruiters find themselves getting a little nervous about the market lately. The dot-com failures and technology powerhouses announcing lay-offs and hiring freezes are all indicators of the demise of technology staffing needs, right? Wrong. According to a recent Meta Group study, there remains an employment gap of as many as 600,000 information technology positions. While this is down from last year, when the shortage of technology professionals hit as high as 1 million, demand remains high, particularly for those with specialized talent. In addition, the Meta Group study found that 68% of the respondents are paying information technology employees 10% to 20% more then non-information technology workers. So where are the specialized high demand areas? The needs are being driven by three technology trends:

  1. An increasingly mobile workforce driving the need for infrastructure and communication media to stay connected.
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  3. The necessity of translating massive amounts of data collected by various e-commerce applications in to meaningful business intelligence
  4. Emphasis on safeguarding corporate systems.

With companies nearing completion of e-commerce development efforts and moving on to new initiatives, there is a recent decline in the demand for internet/intranet development. This became evident in RHI Consulting’s “Hot Jobs Report” for the second quarter of 2001. In this study, Internet/intranet development demand fell to second place, indicating that although these professionals remain in demand, there is a decline. In the same study, 24% of participating CIOs rated networking as the hottest Information Technology specialty, the largest rating of the specialties included in the survey. Driving this demand is the fact the networking professionals are skilled in the design and management of the corporate network, and are responsible for supporting distributed computing, wide area networks and network security. The study also revealed that within this area, network administrators, networks architects and network analysts are in greatest demand. Another change in the information technology world is that companies will have an easier time with retention for the remainder of this year. This is because many who left the corporate world for technology centric and dot.com companies have come back to realty. The Meta Group study went on to stress the value of intellectual capital in software development adding, “software drives information technology…inescapably organizations need policies for deriving maximum benefit from these important assets. This also indicates an awareness of the importance of retention. Finally, salary trends are impacting the market. Technology salaries have dropped six percent, according to techies.com research. Networking and telecommunications experienced the lowest average drop at just two percent. The groups experiencing the greatest drop were entry-level candidates, and those with more than 10 years experience. Finally, companies participating in the research indicated that while they are not reducing salaried for current staff, new workers are being hired at reduced rates. So what do all of these trends mean? As any good recruiter knows, adapting to the market is the key to success. Is technical recruiting a thing of the past? The answer is no.

Kimberly Bedore (kimberlybedore@earthlink.net) is a consultant and public speaker who develops and implements staffing solutions for clients, resulting in increased efficiencies and significant cost savings. She uses her wide range of recruiting experience to provide companies with a wealth of information related to sourcing and sourcing strategies, recruitment training, and the implementation of solutions and metrics that enable a higher degree of staffing effectiveness.

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