CIOs worry a lot about IT/business alignment. But they may have to look closer to home before they can solve the bigger alignment issues. If you surveyed the news recently about IT jobs – those things you either can’t fill or can’t get requisitions for – it would have been good to have ibuprofen handy. Here’s why:
Competition Will Be Fierce. According to a Dice.com survey of 860 tech-focused hiring managers and recruiters, cited in InformationWeek late last month, “73% reported planning to hire more candidates in the next six months, and 24% percent said their additional hiring will be substantial.”
Competition Won’t Be Fierce. According to a Janco Associates analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data, “IT job growth is slowing, and CIOs are becoming more cautious about expanding their workforces.” According to a NetworkWorld report last week, the hiring numbers have seesawed: down 4,700 in September, up 8,600 in October, up 400 in November, up 3,200 in December. It’s entirely possible that someone took statistics not from the BLS but the DJIA.
Competition For Programmers Will Be Really Fierce. IT executive D.J. Raab worries in an InformationWeek article from last week that IT needs more programmers, simply because the increasing integration of systems will require workers to understand how to link them. Other BLS statistics back him up: projections for growth in demand for programmers between 2012 and 2022 show a leap of 22.8 over that period. The only jobs with projected higher percentage growth are in health care and construction.
The Right Applicants Won’t Be Available. According to a survey conducted by the Chartered Institute for IT in England, “Only 10 percent of ‘digital leaders’ feel their organization has enough resources to address the management issues and IT trends that their company has prioritized,” noted a ComputerWorld UK story last week. “More than half of the digital leaders/CIOs surveyed (57 percent) said they needed enhanced IT skills among their existing workforce [and] 48 percent [said they] required additional IT staff that are ‘suitably qualified.’”
Everyone Wants To Be In Mobile and Analytics. Also in InformationWeek earlier this month: 8 Hot IT Jobs For 2014. No surprises here: big data, mobility, business intelligence, Linux, and DevOps experts with cloud and mobility skills. But with a high number of companies focusing on a small number of areas, will it be more difficult to entice people to think about other, fundamental areas: storage, networking, servers, databases. Come to think of it, why is no one worrying about having enough people to deploy network fabrics and converged infrastructures?
Once They’re Hired, How Long Will They Stay? Are you spending more time worrying about hiring employees than managing them once they’re on board? As Computerworld noted this week, “CIOs might need a reality check when it comes to the contentment of their IT staffs. Most CIOs are confident that their employees are satisfied with their jobs, but less than one-third of those employees are sure they won’t look for a new job in the next year.” (Similarly, NetworkWorld offered advice this week on how to keep millennials happy.)
One Piece of Good News. In talking to several IT executives recently about what they look for in IT staffers, many of them have said that they’re actively recruiting returning veterans. “Veterans have a discipline and rigor in how they go about their business,” the CIO of one of the country’s biggest energy providers told me. “They can manage multiple disciplines at a time and balance complex priorities.” The good news: several industry associations have banded together with Monster to create an IT job site specifically for veterans.
It may seem that with such divergent insights that there is no right answer, and that’s partly true. The answer about getting and keeping good IT staff is the same as it’s always been: hire those who are willing to learn, because technology is always changing; entice them with new opportunities as much as possible; and work hard at figuring out how to manage them well. Doing so ties back neatly to business alignment. Only diligent, well-trained IT staff will deliver successful projects – even small ones – that help CIOs build the foundation for increased trust and collaboration.
Email CIO Next Community Manager Howard Baldwin if you’re a CIO who wants to spout off in an opinion piece on a technology-related issue.