Recently in this space I questioned why so many enterprises continue to cite a supposed lack of available IT skills as a reason for not filling thousands of vacant jobs. This, I said, makes no sense since the recession has thrown hundreds of thousands of experienced IT professionals out of work.
The flood of responses—most from frustrated jobless IT pros, many with decades of experience—has been an eye-opener for me. Clearly, there are many factors besides enterprise cost cutting that help explain the apparent "skills gap" contradiction. Here are a couple suggested by readers that make sense to me:
Too many instant IT experts. The dot-com boom and temporary soaring salaries for some IT skill sets drew too many people who were IT pros on paper only to the field.
Now, many enterprises and consulting companies, feeling burned by having paid too much to hire such paper tigers, are focusing on thinning out the ranks. The last thing they want to do is to compound their mistakes by bringing in more marginally qualified IT "professionals."
And that leads to the second point.
Impossible skills demands. Feeling not only burned but also now in the supply-and-demand drivers seat, many employers are requiring almost ridiculously specific experience levels and skill sets when posting job openings. And theyre unwilling to accept anything short of the perfect candidate.
One IT pro I heard from said she saw a job posting that asked for six years of Java, C/C++ and XML experience. Problem is, Java is barely 6 years old, and XML is not yet 6 years old.
So is the skills gap real? I guess so, if what youre looking for doesnt exist.
Is the skills gap real? Give me the answer at firstname.lastname@example.org.