How to Survive the IT Talent Deficit

Today’s CIOs and IT managers don’t have it easy… at all. These IT leaders face a number of significant challenges that either didn’t exist or weren’t nearly as prevalent 10 years ago. For example, technology is now evolving so rapidly that it has become difficult to stay current with all of the latest developments and trends such as big data analytics and cloud computing.   

Recent high-profile data breaches (Sony is still picking up the pieces!) have also made cybersecurity a priority for IT leaders. But perhaps the greatest IT challenge organizations face—and the one that impacts all the others—is the large and growing talent deficit.

Several factors are making it increasingly difficult for businesses to identify and hire strong IT candidates. First and foremost, because technology is now such an integral part of business growth, the number of positions that need to be filled is growing far faster than the number of candidates available to fill them. Additionally, giant corporations in the technology space, such as Google, Facebook and Apple, are attracting much of the top talent, leaving a smaller pool of candidates for everybody else. With Google offering employees free gourmet food and fitness classes at its headquarters, it’s getting harder and harder to reel in top talent!

Perhaps you’ve felt this pinch. In fact, a recent survey from InformationWeek found that 73 percent of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees see an IT talent shortage in one or more areas of their organizations; that number grew to 88 percent for companies with more than 1,000 employees.

The IT talent deficit is not insurmountable though. In much the same way that organizations must differentiate themselves from their competitors to turn prospects into customers, they must now take steps to stand out to IT candidates as well, by:

  • Adopting modern technology: Put yourself in a candidate’s shoes for a moment. If you were a well qualified IT professional with several attractive offers to choose from, would you sign with a company that uses antiquated technology internally? Probably not, because those legacy solutions would serve as a red flag that the organization does not prioritize technology. Cutting-edge technology is particularly important to millennials, who will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025, according to a recent Deloitte report. For instance, a recent survey conducted by PwC found that 59 percent of millennials said that an employer’s provision of state-of-the art technology was important to them when considering a job.
  • Offering work-life balance: Because IT is so critical to business success, many technology professionals are expected to work outside the traditional 9 to 5—and there is nothing wrong with that. But in their quest to attract top talent, organizations should offer some perks in return for the inevitable late nights and early mornings. Whether it’s telecommuting options or extra vacation days, doing a little extra to provide candidates with a better work-life balances goes a long way.
  • Staying connected to the community: One advantage many companies have over even giants like Google and Facebook is that they may be more attractive to area candidates who do not want to re-locate. To capitalize on that advantage, these businesses must be able to identify local talent. As such, maintaining relationships with local colleges and technology training schools; participating in local charity events; or leveraging staffing service providers with deep community roots can be integral to onboarding high-quality candidates. 

Finding and onboarding top IT talent isn’t easy—but it isn’t impossible either. You just have to know how and where to look.