“The more things change, the more they remain the same.”
“Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink” wrote Samuel Taylor Coleridge in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. With national unemployment hovering above 8% but employers still reporting significant trouble in filling open positions, it seems an apt description of the current labor market. We’ve heard the terms “talent mismatch,” “skills gap,” and “talent shortage” repeatedly in the news, and I’ve written on this before on Staffing 360. There is no shortage of stories on the topic. Recently, ManpowerGroup released the 2012 results of its annual talent shortage survey revealing that “49% of U.S. employers are experiencing difficulty filling mission-critical positions” and CareerBuilder's new Talent Crunch Study reports that 38% have open positions for which they can’t find qualified people. Their study also highlighted some of the many reasons that companies should be concerned about those unfilled spots:
- 34% of those surveyed reported job vacancies led to low quality work because of overworked employees;
- 23% cited a loss in revenue;
- 33% of employers said vacancies have caused lower morale; and
- 17% saw higher turnover rates.
ManpowerGroup reports that in the US the top 10 hardest jobs to fill were:
- Skilled Trades
- IT Staff
- Sales Representatives
- Accounting & FinanceStaff
- Machinists/Machine Operators
IT contract employee retention is an ongoing concern, or should be for any smart manager. Losing a member of your team before the project is complete is a headache no one needs. We’ve covered this topic before at Staffing 360, particularly in 6 Things You Can Do to Dramatically Increase IT Contractor Retention. I’d like to remind you of one of the pieces of advice from our eGuide – recognizing exceptional performance, and share a recent experience that illustrates this.
This week I am pleased to present ATR’s newest eGuide “7 Expert Tips for Hiring the Best IT Employees” We’ve been placing skilled contractors in IT, and other technical and engineering positions, for nearly 25 years, and this eGuide is our latest effort to share our knowledge and best practices with you.
Every day brings a new story about the “severe IT personnel shortage” and the “war for IT talent.” Those of us on the front lines can attest that, while a little hyperbole is at work in the headlines, the stories are mostly quite true. It is no longer a buyer’s market in the IT industry. Finding the right IT consultants is getting more difficult by the day and some niche skills are at nearly 0% unemployment. These shortage stories are matched in frequency by the reports of how many employees are unhappy in their current positions and plan to look for a new job in the coming year, estimates range from 50% to as high as 85%. How can businesses find the IT personnel they need to grow and prosper? What can an employee considering a career change do to instantly start the process and increase the odds of a successful move? One answer to all of these questions is LinkedIn. In this week’s post I’ll focus on the employee side and next week, I’ll cover the hiring side of things.
TechServe Alliance released its IT Employment Index figures for March 2012 this week, showing that IT employment has reached an all-time high and that the demand for IT talent, which has been growing steadily for some time, remains strong. Recently, the SIA reported on a Teksystems’ survey that reported 37% of IT Leaders expect to increase temporary hiring. An annual Harris Interactive/CareerBuilder survey found 54% of employers indicated plans to hire college graduates this year with 25% of them saying they have Information Technology jobs to fill. Finally, there seems to be a new skill or IT job each week that is experiencing talent shortages and this article from WANTED Analytics about cyber security concerns and computer security specialists is a good example.
A recent PCWorld article, “IT Contractors Help Companies Meet Changing Work Needs” discusses how corporate IT departments depend on IT contractors to help them fulfill their mission. It mentions competing IT staffing firms, which some might conclude makes it unwise to pass along, but I don’t subscribe to that kind of thinking; I look for and share knowledge wherever I find it. The article covers some great examples of the kind of situations companies find themselves using IT contractors for and the critical role that this flexible workforce plays in their success. Whether it is “having the development expertise on-demand [that] allows [a] company to complete work with less lead time,” or “turn[ing] to contractors when the IT department is expanded beyond its normal capacity or a particular skill set is required,” IT contractors are an important resource that companies can tap into. If you are a growing business with unmet IT needs, contractors may be the answer for you too.
ATR recently released its latest eGuide, 6 Things You Can Do to Improve IT Contractor Retention, and in it we discussed tenure policies or term limits and how they affect retention of IT contract employees. This week I want to focus on term limits in more detail, especially the idea that they are not necessary and not protecting you the way you think they are. A radical idea? Read on and see what you think.
IC misclassification is a major concern for businesses. The use of independent contractors has risen over the past several years and government scrutiny of IC classification has become more aggressive at both the state and federal level. Staying on the right side of classification regulations and guidelines takes constant vigilance and the assistance of HR, legal and staffing professionals, working together, is invaluable. The issues can be complex and the guidelines are sometimes murky, open to interpretation and differ from state to state. The risk for accidental misclassification is high and the penalties are growing ever more costly. Companies must use a variety of strategies and tools to ensure that their use of ICs is a benefit, not a costly risk to the company.
One of our clients most frequently asked questions is, “how can I make sure my IT contractor stays until the end?” Whether it’s a manager on a multiyear, multimillion dollar software development project or a Java developer filling in for maternity leave, losing an employee before you are ready is a problem; a problem that costs your business time and money.