Tight Skills Market Eases for IT Managers

You can't really blame Ortez Gude for feeling kind of smug these days.

You cant really blame Ortez Gude for feeling kind of smug these days. The vice president of technology for Beers Construction Co., in Atlanta, spent years watching promising job candidates choose startups, stock options and huge incentive packages while all he had to offer was the stability of a large construction company.

Today, though, candidates are calling him. And even former employees who went to dot-coms are returning. There is, it seems, a silver lining in all this gloomy economic and Internet industry news.

"We really used to have to go out and beat the bushes to find people," Gude said. "Now were seeing an influx of résumés and a lot of unsolicited calls. Its easier to hire now—and its less expensive."

Hes not the only IT chief to think that. "Theres a lot less pressure getting people," said Charles Emery, vice president of IT for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, in Newark. "Its not that we couldnt hire, but at least now, people dont need 100 million shares to take the job. Now people are seeking more stability."

All told, more than 40,000 people in the Internet industry have been laid off since the beginning of last year, analysts say.

But dont breathe a sigh of relief just yet, particularly if youre trying to fill a rare technical specialty. Arthur Tisi, formerly CIO of the Metropolitan Museum of New York and now president of an Internet consulting company in Tarrytown, N.Y., said that most of todays job seekers are marketing/business or development/sales types and not true IT pros.

"Are people more humble today?" Tisi asked. "Sure they are. But remember, the good people get snapped up first, and its the mediocre and midlevel people who are left."