Hedge Funds Luring Away
Prospective Microsoft Talent"> Editors Note: This is the second in a series of articles, based on an interview with Microsoft COO Kevin Turner, that examine the focus, strategy, challenges and opportunities for the software company going forward. The biggest challenge facing Microsoft today is making sure that it has enough qualified, capable, talented people who can continue to scale with the company."You have about a third of the number of people entering the IT field than you did during the dot-com era," Microsofts Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner told eWEEK. "Also, one of the stiffest competitors we face today are the hedge funds, for staff to support all the major systems and analysis and decision support-type activity they do and which is pretty intensive. "There is excitement and glamour associated with working for a hedge fund, so we are finding that some of the best competition that we get in the marketplace is coming straight from the hedge funds, which, over the past few years, have added a lot more people than Google and Yahoo," he said. While Microsoft has always had to compete for skilled workers with other companies in the technology fieldsomething it has learned to managethe hedge funds are a player that has entered an already pretty full field, Turner said. Microsoft is still figuring out its core strategies. Click here to read more. "I dont know that we saw the hedge fund opportunity coming. I dont know that we realized until we started going back to campuses how much they were peeling off in that particular space. We are now coming to grips with the issue of how we make this company aspirational, how we make it a company that people want to work for," he said. Microsoft is pulling out all the stops to try to correct the growing shortage of IT graduates and the shrinking number of people entering the technology field by doing things like lobbying in Washington for relief. "Its unfortunate that we can educate people here, but they then have to go home. Also, [Microsoft Chairman] Bill [Gates], [CEO] Steve [Ballmer], myself and others are all speaking at universities to get students excited about getting into the technology field," he said. The shortage of qualified candidates in the IT space is a concern to the entire industry and the one thing that Turner said he thinks about every day, from the time he gets up in the morning until he goes to bed at night. That concern is shared by Ballmer, who told students in a speech at the Stanford Graduate School of Business in March that while the company had just finished its best recruiting year everdespite there being more competition"getting the best people remains a big issue for us." Ballmer says Googles rapid staff growth was a "crazy" scenario. Click here to read why. "Im always thinking about how we can continue to develop and train our people, how we can improve their capabilities and get more people into the pipeline so they can grow and scale this. You saw the breadth of the [product] portfolio we have across the company, and its an awesome thing, but it is something that takes a lot of people to do," Turner said. Page 2: Hedge Funds Luring Away Prospective Microsoft Talent
But the Redmond, Wash., software maker is facing competition for those resources from an unexpected source: the hedge fund industry.