The Real Ramifications of an IT Talent Shortage

November 5th, 2014 | Articles, Hiring Resources | 2 Comments »

IT Talent Shortage

Technology has a tendency to leap light years into the future without giving the talent pool much time to catch up. Compound each jump and you have a sizable IT talent shortage that is not easily rectified. Is there really a noticeable technical deficit? If so, are steps being made to whittle it down?

Is There Really a Talent Shortage?

Information Week conducted a survey that suggests the IT talent shortage is a very real concern. Of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees, 73% of respondents believe in an IT talent shortage. Of those with more than 1,000 employees, 88% of respondents believe in an IT talent shortage. If these beliefs are true, then there are serious real world implications.

Some studies show that over half of employers notice significant restraints on their ability to meet client needs when dealing with a talent shortage. Other operational impacts include decreased productivity (seen by 41% of employers), reduced innovation (seen by 40% of employers), and diminished employee engagement/morale (seen by 24% of employers).

Beyond that, there is even evidence that job vacancies caused by the IT talent shortage can cost companies $5,000 per month per position. Under the current market, where the number of open jobs has hit a 13 year high, there’s a high risk that these negative factors will pile up and further slow our economic recovery.

Will the Next Generation of CS Graduates Fill in the Gaps?

On the surface, it appears as if some headway is being made to close the IT talent shortage. Enrollment in computer science programs has been increasing in recent years. Since 2007, there has been a steady upswing in undergraduates pursuing computer science degrees, which portends to bring more qualified professionals into the industry pipeline.

However, that increase only represents the number of students declaring computer science as a major, not the number who will follow their degree to completion. Even then, there has historically been a sizable divide between practicing STEM graduates and those who have transitioned to different fields.

Moreover, there’s no guarantee that the exceptional candidates who make it through will be enough to meet the increasing demand of the industry.

The Reality of IT Supply and Demand

CareerBuilder statistics paint a stark picture for any employer looking to acquire new talent for a job opening.

Let’s say you’re looking for a Software Developer. The number of active candidates who used CareerBuilder in the last year total out to be approximately 83,269 people. That doesn’t account for the difference made by years of experience, competitive technical skills, cultural fit, or work ethic. Add caveats like that and the number of candidates dwindles down to a miniscule talent pool.

What’s the demand for Software Developers? CareerBuilder recorded 570,913 software development job posts over the last year. That’s almost 7 times more than the supply and that’s assuming that every candidate is qualified for every position.

Other IT disciplines are no different. The supply of Network Engineers recorded on CareerBuilder is approximately 73,412 with a demand of 205,958. Turn your attention to Quality Assurance Specialists and you’ll see a supply of 38,606 candidates with a demand for 89,254 openings. Though the disparity might not be as pronounced in these other categories, there still is a noticeably higher demand than supply.

Looking at all these numbers it’s clear the IT talent shortage is a real thing. It’s no surprise that the average length of time it takes to fill an open position in the United States is 26.5 days. Employers need to ensure that their recruiting strategies are comprehensive and cohesive to attract and retain the limited amount of top-tier talent.

At Ashley Ellis,  we’re networking with that top-tier talent on a daily basis. Feel free to let us know how we can help connect you with the talented professionals you need on your team.

by James Walsh

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2 Responses to “The Real Ramifications of an IT Talent Shortage”

  1. georges says:

    I think that there is a misconception about the lack of IT talent. Software developers make up a small field of the overall IT field. If the author would have been more encompassing, then it would have been a valid point. What I see, more than anything, are recruiters who recruit for positions that they have no technical knowledge of.

    I can’t tell you how many interviews I’ve had and where I’ve been asked questions that were not relevant to the expertise I was applying for. I see a pricing divide between business and IT and a liason batten the evaluation of the two. I have witnessed less technically proficient people get hired for a position that a more technically proficient person should have been hired for simply because the recruiter did not know how to properly evaluate technical skills.

  2. Ashley Ellis says:

    Thanks for responding, Georges. You make a strong point that one discipline is not emblematic of the entire IT field. You’re also definitely right that some recruiters out there don’t have as much technical expertise, which could make them prone to making errors in evaluating a candidate’s skills.

    At Ashley Ellis we strive to find candidates who are both a technical fit as well as a good fit for the team and work environment, so we can avoid making these errors as much as possible.

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