Quality Issue

By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-07-25 Print this article Print

Quality issue Many across the channel have concluded that the problem is not a cut-and-dried shortage of IT professionals but, rather, a lack of workers with the right sets of skills.
"There is not a shortage of people, but there is certainly a shortage of good people," said Cohen. Sometimes, he added, the skills candidates lack have nothing to do with technology. Candidates often lack the personal or professional skills that a well-rounded IT channel technician needs to put the customer at ease and instill confidence that the job will be done properly. "We reject a lot of people because of this," said Cohen.
Many job seekers lack what Samuel Bright, an analyst at Forrester Research, called "the three legs of the stool"­—technical, business and personal skills. These business deficiencies are the hardest to overcome in potential hires, said employers and analysts. Not everyone agrees there is s shortage. Click here to read more. "Its more than twisting a tool," HPs Underhill said. "You need business acumen, and were losing this. Business acumen cant be bought or picked up overnight, and you dont exit an IT college curriculum with it." Worse yet, those who excel in business, personal and technical skills often end up in other fields, where they believe it is safer to advance their careers. "To succeed in this field, you need three things: logical thinking, attention to detail and problem-solving abilities," said Norman Matloff, computer science professor at the University of California at Davis. "These traits are also important to becoming a lawyer, except when you are a lawyer you can start as high as $160,000 per year, rather than $80,000." Because of the shortcomings employers see in job seekers, many of them end up fishing for the same recruits in a relatively small talent pool. "You have a broad-based fight for a narrow slate of talent, and its not just narrow because of pipeline concerns but because its a subset of a larger talent pool that doesnt meet [employers] needs," said Forresters Bright. "In the front end of the pipeline, there is a dearth of new CS graduates, a lower interest from young people in pursuing IT careers, and the aftereffects of the dot-com bust and the ensuing media hype." Because the numbers of potential recruits coming out of technology schools have declined in recent years, IT employers are left with an aging work force, according to channel executives and analysts. Some in that work force already have their eye on retirement, while others are being wooed by recruiters. "In the back end, CIOs have this ax hanging over their heads over the possible retirement of baby boomers who will take their knowledge of both the business and IT with them," Bright said. Left in the middle is what Bright calls "an overfished pond," a supply so valuable that poaching is frequent and those with the coveted skill sets can name their price and, often, even their hours. Page 3: No Talent: Solution Providers Despair Over Job Seekers.


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