Out of the chasm, into the shortage

The recent news release from TechServe Alliance, the national trade association of the IT and Engineering Staffing and Solutions Industry, was pretty positive.

The release said IT employment increased by 0.35% to 5,340,400 jobs in April. On a year-over-year basis, IT employment is up by 0.85% since April 2020, adding 45,200 IT workers.

“After nine consecutive months of strong growth, IT employment on a year-over-over year basis has turned positive for the first time in 17 months” observed Mark Roberts, CEO of TechServe Alliance. “We have climbed out of a deep chasm.”

News about IT hiring always seems to be a double-edged sword, though, and Roberts also delivered the other edge, saying, “While heartened by the strong consecutive run of IT job creation, we have now returned to the pre-pandemic environment where there is a chronic shortage of IT professionals in many skill sets. A problem with no ready solution.”

Network World agreed, with a story headlined “Tech industry remains on a hiring spree.” The story quoted CompTIA’s Tim Herbert, executive vice president for research and market intelligence. He said, “As employers increase hiring activity, expect more tech workers to explore their career options. In a competitive labor market, companies will need to be even more diligent in their approach to work practices and corporate culture in retaining tech talent.” 

Companies will also need to be even more diligent in their approach to hiring during a shortage. As Los Angeles-based Direct Search Alliance recently noted, companies need to move faster when they find the right candidate.

“If you have someone in your interview pool that is a standout, move quickly. Because there is so much competition for a candidate’s time and attention, you could lose an ideal candidate by waiting to bring them in for a final interview.”

LRS Consulting Services has emphasized this issue before. Our recruiters have found themselves in situations where they have sourced a candidate who matched the client’s requirements in technical skills, soft skills, and cultural fit, but the client had not completed their interview process and hesitated to make an offer. Meanwhile, the candidate’s skills made him or her so attractive that they had multiple offers on the table.

While it’s understandable for clients to have a lengthy process in place to make sure they get the absolute best candidate, it’s also vital to move fast and make an offer once that candidate is identified. Our advice to clients is always to make a move once you’ve found the candidate that fits.

Also, offer a competitive rate. As Direct Search Alliance said, “Quite simply, companies that do not offer competitive pay can put themselves out of contention when it comes to sourcing top talent. As the employment market is constantly in flux, hiring managers should constantly evaluate and adjust compensation policies to be seen as a desirable firm to work for.”

As an IT staffing company, we’re constantly researching market rates for a wide range of technical positions and stand ready to assist clients on the best rate to offer.

And we agree with Mark Roberts that the shortage of IT skills is a chronic problem with no ready solution. As with most chronic conditions, though, we think there are ways to deal with the problem and continue to hire the skilled people you need.

Let us know if you’re seeing a shortage in the skills you need.