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Down To Business: Talent Shortage? Employers Must Take Some Of The Rap
Information Week ^ | 03/05/2007 | Rob Preston

Posted on 03/08/2007 12:35:23 PM PST by SirLinksalot

Down To Business: Talent Shortage ? Employers Must Take Some Of The Rap

Many tech pros are demoralized, thanks to knee-jerk offshore outsourcing and the post-bubble malaise. Employers must move beyond the "you should be happy you have a job" mentality.

By Rob Preston InformationWeek

March 3, 2007 12:00 AM (From the March 5, 2007 issue)

Ask a dozen CIOs and tech vendor CEOs to identify their single most pressing challenge, and you'll likely get at least 10 different answers, right? Not exactly. In fact, they all come back to one overarching concern: finding, grooming, and retaining tomorrow's leaders.

I wrote a column on this subject last May, after five CEOs, in separate conversations, expressed their frustration with U.S. immigration policy, the U.S. education system, and other trends that influence their future labor pool. All these execs say they're preoccupied with building their next-generation tech workforces amid a looming talent shortage in the United States. I subsequently heard similar rumblings from six or seven CIOs.

A vast right-wing conspiracy? More like fear and loathing in tech America. The U.S. workforce is aging, and there aren't enough computer science and other technical college grads to replace retirees. It's still hard to get a U.S. work visa, and foreign nationals graduating from U.S. universities increasingly are returning home or heading to other countries.

The Technology CEO Council, an advocacy group that includes the chiefs of Dell, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, and Sun Microsystems, last week called on the White House and Congress to grease the labor supply skids. Among their seven proposals for improving U.S. competitiveness were two related to the tech workforce: Increase funding for recruiting and developing math teachers, and change immigration laws to make it easier for foreign IT pros to work in the United States.

This column has long argued that the more talented technical people we can develop in, and attract to, this country, the better for the economy and its people--vendors, IT organizations, consumers. However, this looming labor shortage isn't just a straight supply problem. It's also an HR embarrassment. Instead of just wringing their hands about their labor challenges, employers need to look in the mirror.

For one thing, "employee engagement" is near an all-time low, observes Tom Casey, VP of human capital at the Concours Group. That's management consulting speak for the fact that tech pros are demoralized, thanks to knee-jerk offshore outsourcing and the post-bubble malaise. Many of their employers hail from the "you should be happy you have a job" school of management. As a result, Casey says, IT pros are all-too-anxious to switch companies, even careers. And given the market uncertainly, they're advising their kids to steer clear of the profession--at least according to many disillusioned readers who responded to my last column.

Casey also sees a mismatch of skills at play. IT pros were reared to be functionally technical but not strategic or innovative. But employers, who now expect their IT people to be both tech and business savvy, aren't investing in training and other programs to pull them along.

Sweeping government programs are all well and good, but individual employers must step up as well. Casey advises every business technology organization to conduct a comprehensive workforce study to identify weaknesses. For example, if your IT workforce is aging and your company's marginalizing or sunsetting those older workers, then it needs to rethink its HR approach. If it lacks certain expertise, consider building that in-house, under formal programs.

Companies must recruit differently as well. One idea Casey suggests: Look to local country clubs for retirees willing to put their business technology experiences and skills back to work part time. Overall, the "if we need them, we'll just go find them" employer mentality won't cut it anymore. Be proactive.

Meantime, if you can't find the right job but insist you have all the right skills and are doing all the right things (a common refrain among readers), "take a good look at the jobs you're pursuing and the competencies that you have," Casey says. "You need to consider re-inventing yourself"--yes, new skills, new locations, new industries. Employees must step up as well.

Rob Preston, VP/Editor In Chief INFORMATION WEEK


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: computers; employers; humanresources; india; informationtech; outsourcing; recruiting; shortage; software; staffing; talent; tech

1 posted on 03/08/2007 12:35:25 PM PST by SirLinksalot
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: SirLinksalot
Sweeping government programs are all well and good

Actually, sweeping government programs are pretty much all bad. In fact, you could say that just about any shortage of workers is caused significantly by two "sweeping government programs": government education and abortion.

(Yes, I know it's a stretch calling abortion a government program, but I was going with the trope. Think figuratively!)

3 posted on 03/08/2007 12:37:57 PM PST by Tax-chick (Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione.)
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To: SirLinksalot

I work in IT program management. I started as a programmer and firmly believe that my technical skills make me a better program and project manager because I have a feel for what the software developers need to do their job correctly. And I also wonder where the next generation of project management is going to come from if we continue to decimate the domestic software development pool. I lead project managers without any technical background and I find they're not as effective as those who do have that experience.


4 posted on 03/08/2007 12:41:30 PM PST by Non-Sequitur (Save Fredericksburg. Support CVBT.)
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To: SirLinksalot
"Tech Talent Shotage ? Employers Must Take Some of the Rap" is not the title of the published article.

Please do not alter titles.

5 posted on 03/08/2007 12:42:56 PM PST by Admin Moderator
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To: SirLinksalot

"...new skills, new locations, new industries."

My COBOL/FORTRAN/Burroughs' skills aren't good enough....


6 posted on 03/08/2007 12:43:56 PM PST by dakine
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To: dakine

Learn assembler.


7 posted on 03/08/2007 12:47:27 PM PST by sionnsar (†trad-anglican.faithweb.com†|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: SirLinksalot

The real problem is that there is a semi artificial deflationary market environment. With all the Communist and quasi Communist countries now dumping and undercutting Western prices, companies are under immense cost reduction pressure. This leads to that "you're luck you have a job, we could RIF you any minute" mentality, etc. Maybe Freaked Trade is not what it was depicted to be.


8 posted on 03/08/2007 12:48:17 PM PST by GOP_1900AD (Stomping on "PC," destroying the Left, and smoking out faux "conservatives" - Take Back The GOP!)
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To: sionnsar

hahaha....On the resume somewhere...


9 posted on 03/08/2007 12:50:00 PM PST by dakine
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To: SirLinksalot
For one thing, "employee engagement" is near an all-time low, observes Tom Casey, VP of human capital at the Concours Group. That's management consulting speak for the fact that tech pros are demoralized, thanks to knee-jerk offshore outsourcing and the post-bubble malaise. Many of their employers hail from the "you should be happy you have a job" school of management. As a result, Casey says, IT pros are all-too-anxious to switch companies, even careers. And given the market uncertainly, they're advising their kids to steer clear of the profession--at least according to many disillusioned readers who responded to my last column.

Feedback cycle. As more citizens leave IT and other tech fields, more will be off shored, which will lead to more leaving the tech field.

We were an agricultural economy, became a manufacturing economy, and are now leaving the service economy. What is next?

10 posted on 03/08/2007 12:50:27 PM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: dakine
Mine too. From FORTRAN to Nova assembler, on the job no less.

I even see jobs from time to time that only require C, though my development platforms these days are Word and Powerpoint. *\:-(

11 posted on 03/08/2007 12:52:52 PM PST by sionnsar (†trad-anglican.faithweb.com†|Iran Azadi| 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0ur5 (SONY) | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: dakine

"My COBOL/FORTRAN/Burroughs' skills aren't good enough...."
How about EZTRIEVE, big market for that!


12 posted on 03/08/2007 12:58:25 PM PST by duckman (I refuse to use a tag line...I mean it.)
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To: SirLinksalot; A. Pole
Meantime, if you can't find the right job but insist you have all the right skills and are doing all the right things (a common refrain among readers), "take a good look at the jobs you're pursuing and the competencies that you have," Casey says. "You need to consider re-inventing yourself"--yes, new skills, new locations, new industries. Employees must step up as well.

Sounds like Greenspan-speak.

"All the world's a virtual stage...

That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."

13 posted on 03/08/2007 1:08:42 PM PST by raybbr (You think it's bad now - wait till the anchor babies start to vote.)
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To: SirLinksalot
Many of their employers hail from the "you should be happy you have a job" school of management.

Well, that's CEO-think. Many of us hiring managers would love to hire US talent - regardless of cost - but the big bosses won't let us. Part of it is that few companies really understand the potential positive impact of IT on their businesses - in many industries it remains a cost to be ruthlessly controlled, like the electric bill. ;)

14 posted on 03/08/2007 1:13:19 PM PST by Mr. Jeeves ("Wise men don't need to debate; men who need to debate are not wise." -- Tao Te Ching)
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To: SirLinksalot
Businesses have bought this on themselves. What is the point in learning IT skills in college when employers keep sending those jobs overseas.

Those same employers then decry the lack of skilled college graduates. What student is going to spend 4 years and tens of thousands of dollars on an education to get a job that gets out-sourced to India?

15 posted on 03/08/2007 1:16:28 PM PST by BRITinUSA
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To: SirLinksalot
Here is a quote from a book titled Die Broke:

“The answer is quit today: mentally separate yourself from your employer and realize that you’re on your own. Abandon any remaining tinges of loyalty to your employer (who long ago abandoned any sense of obligation to you) and instead think of your job and yourself the same way free-agent athletes do.” (Pollan & Levine 1997, 11)

Yes, there are unique drivers when it comes to the IT world but this is the underlying attitude.

16 posted on 03/08/2007 1:28:48 PM PST by AreaMan
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To: GOP_1900AD
You raise a good point, but I don't believe the deflationary factors you described have as much influence as you think. I belong to an advisory group for an engineering school, and just last week I had a long conversation with someone whose company can't even fill positions that pay $40k-$50k starting salaries to people with two-year degrees in tech-related fields.

My biggest problem in my company is that I have a hard time finding people who are flexible and broadly educated -- not just "trained" to do tasks that may be obsolete next month.

17 posted on 03/08/2007 1:44:19 PM PST by Alberta's Child (Can money pay for all the days I lived awake but half asleep?)
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To: SirLinksalot

One possible answer: Make the Philippines a state or states (Most Filipinos speak English and many are college educated, yet currently underemployed)
http://www.useless-knowledge.com/politics/index.html


18 posted on 03/08/2007 2:07:29 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Newt Gingrich/John Bolton 2008)
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To: SirLinksalot

Sorry, bad link, here is that article: http://www.useless-knowledge.com/1234/jan/article528.html


19 posted on 03/08/2007 2:20:36 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Newt Gingrich/John Bolton 2008)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Make the Philippines a state or states

How is this going to solve the IT shortage problem ?

1) Do Filipinos want to be an American State ?

2) Assuming the answer is yes ( which I highly doubt ), you'll have a state that supplies cheap labor... is that the intent ?

3) At any rate, if it's cheap Philippines IT labor you want, you don't need to go to the extent of reclaiming them. Outsourcing your work could do the job as well.
20 posted on 03/08/2007 2:49:04 PM PST by SirLinksalot
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To: SirLinksalot

Many Filipinos want to become an American state or states, as they are fed-up with the corruption of their government and poverty. They have even formed a political party for this purpose.


21 posted on 03/08/2007 2:53:00 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (Newt Gingrich/John Bolton 2008)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Many Filipinos want to become an American state or states, as they are fed-up with the corruption of their government and poverty. They have even formed a political party for this purpose.

Cool! They should be encouraged. This is the first I heard of it.

I would think Mexicans should think the same way instead of just wanting to make enough money here to become oppressors back in the cesspool.

22 posted on 03/08/2007 3:29:07 PM PST by Duke Nukum (Chickens are part of the natural cycle of life, and that is why we play chickenball in the house.)
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To: duckman

""My COBOL/FORTRAN/Burroughs' skills aren't good enough...." How about EZTRIEVE, big market for that!"

Wonder if my DBase3 and Novell CNE3 skills are needed anywhere?


23 posted on 03/08/2007 4:34:32 PM PST by EQAndyBuzz (The Clintons: A Malignant Malfeasance of the Most Morbid)
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To: Alberta's Child
Y2K fallout.

CEO's remember being essentially "fiscally raped" by IT "Professionals".

Why hire direct, when people learned to make do with the expensive consultants?

I am not a CEO, but I have learned a bit of IT by osmosis.
Pay the consultant for overall operations, and hire the recent high school grad who knows how to just unplug/restart the Internet connection. /sarcasm//
24 posted on 03/08/2007 5:41:54 PM PST by sarasmom ( War is not the most vile of the evils humanity commits . There is always apathy...)
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To: Willie Green; Wolfie; ex-snook; Jhoffa_; FITZ; arete; FreedomPoster; Red Jones; Pyro7480; ...
these execs say they're preoccupied with building their next-generation tech workforces amid a looming talent shortage in the United States
[...]
IT pros are all-too-anxious to switch companies, even careers. And given the market uncertainly, they're advising their kids to steer clear of the profession

"talent shortage" bump

25 posted on 03/08/2007 7:55:25 PM PST by A. Pole (SomeoneNeedsToSayIt: "the job of the[...]citizens is to invest, not toil away on a production line")
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Many Filipinos want to become an American state or states, as they are fed-up with the corruption of their government and poverty.

And once they become part of USA they will be cured of these ills?

26 posted on 03/08/2007 8:00:17 PM PST by A. Pole (SomeoneNeedsToSayIt: "the job of the[...]citizens is to invest, not toil away on a production line")
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To: Mr. Jeeves

IT personnel need to market their solutions better.

I look at it this way: If a corporate IT department was instead an independent business, how would it sell its solutions? What value-add would it offer, versus the competition? Could the IT department survive on its own as an independent business?


27 posted on 03/08/2007 8:02:12 PM PST by Mr J (All IMHO.)
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To: A. Pole

"Billy, you've been a fine
son, but it's time for a change.
I found a child overseas
who can do it cheaper."
28 posted on 03/08/2007 8:04:04 PM PST by null and void ("If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong." - Charles F. Kettering)
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To: sarasmom

I believe there's a growing opportunity for high-school nerds looking for employment before college. In fact, I wonder if about 90% of all IT work could be done by smart high school kids?


29 posted on 03/08/2007 8:08:30 PM PST by Mr J (All IMHO.)
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To: A. Pole

Well, if every corporate application package is running on Google's servers, and the only IT knowledge your company needs is how to start a web browser and go to Google, then maybe IT departments as we know them will become thing of the past.


30 posted on 03/08/2007 8:12:11 PM PST by Mr J (All IMHO.)
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To: A. Pole

It's long overdue for large employers to take responsibility for their actions.


31 posted on 03/08/2007 8:12:57 PM PST by Clintonfatigued (If the GOP were to stop worshiping Free Trade as if it were a religion, they'd win every election)
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To: Tax-chick

There's no problem so great that a government program can't make it even worse.


32 posted on 03/08/2007 8:14:56 PM PST by dfwgator (The University of Florida - Championship U)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Many Filipinos want to become an American state or states

Uh, hate to break it to ya, but the Philippines were a U.S. protectorate from the end of the Spanish-American war to their independence as a "commonwealth" of the United States in 1935. That changed to "independence" in 1946, but the U.S. had veto power over foreign policy and military affairs of the islands until 1973.

If we couldn't cure them of corruption over that amount of time (and we didn't, we left the disgusting creep Marcos in power), it ain't gonna work any better this time.

For better or for worse, they need to solve their own problems, the major one being getting rid of the infection known as Spaniard culture which they had for the better part of 300 years, and are still trying to shake.

33 posted on 03/08/2007 10:04:14 PM PST by Regulator
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To: EQAndyBuzz
Wonder if my DBase3 and Novell CNE3 skills are needed anywhere?

Well, the company I work for does a lot of batch processing using Foxbase, and our main file and print server is a NetWare 6 box, so you've at least got the rudimentry skills for the company I work for! lol. No, you can't have MY job!

Mark

34 posted on 03/09/2007 2:05:01 AM PST by MarkL (When Kaylee says "No power in the `verse can stop me," it's cute. When River says it, it's scary!)
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To: SirLinksalot
Age discrimination, outsourcing, math requirements, Homer Simpson, affluence and cynicism have all had an effect on our kids' attitudes toward discipline and hard work required to acquire and deploy engineering skills.


BUMP

35 posted on 03/09/2007 2:28:24 AM PST by capitalist229 (Get Democrats out of our pockets and Republicans out of our bedrooms.)
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To: sionnsar
From FORTRAN to Nova assembler, on the job no less.

I hadn't run across Nova assembly language, so your remark made me curious. From a few searches, it certainly is an unusual assembly language for a unique machine. This Nova feature particularly seemed unique:

Magic and Reserved Memory Locations on the Nova

The basic Nova architecture isn't too big on reserved locations or ``magic'' locations, but there are a few. Locations zero and one in physical memory are reserved for the interrupt system, and there are a bank of ``special'' locations in the auto-increment and auto-decrement areas. I'll describe those here. Later machines, of course, have more reserved locations, but those are beyond the scope of this document.

Locations 20 through 37 (octal) in the logical address space (there may be two location 20s in MAPped machines) behave in a special manner when accessed indirectly. When hit via an indirection operation, these locations either increment by one or decrement by one automatically before the value is taken to be used in the effective address. 20 through 27 are the auto-incrementing addresses and 30 through 37 are the auto-decrementing ones. They behave normally when accessed directly. This makes them useful for traversing lists and areas of core.

(From Data General NOVA ® Instruction Set Summary at Carl Friend's Minicomputer "Museum".)
36 posted on 03/09/2007 2:32:45 AM PST by snowsislander
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To: SirLinksalot
Increase funding for recruiting and developing math teachers, and change immigration laws to make it easier for foreign IT pros to work in the United States.

Which is it? Develop internally, or bring in outsiders? And why bring outsiders in, when you can just outsource to where they live now?

37 posted on 03/09/2007 2:45:39 AM PST by Bernard (Immigration should be rare, safe and legal.)
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To: SirLinksalot

All my in-laws would vote yes in a heartbeat.


38 posted on 03/09/2007 2:47:25 AM PST by chasio649
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

yep


39 posted on 03/09/2007 2:47:43 AM PST by chasio649
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To: Regulator

Read a biography on Genereal MacArthur...pretty interesting how things setup after WWII are still haunting the Philippines...it's too bad MacArthur was too busy running Japan to look out for PI....his family was involved in Philippine politics going back to the turn of the century....it's sad for a lot of good filipinos...they are powerless and many filipinos i know would cheer if the US invaded and took over.... MacArthur always regretted not rebuilding PI like he did Japan....just my thoughts.


40 posted on 03/09/2007 2:57:28 AM PST by chasio649
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To: SirLinksalot

Sorry...didn't mean to hijack your thread...carry on ;)


41 posted on 03/09/2007 2:58:01 AM PST by chasio649
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To: AreaMan
“The answer is quit today: mentally separate yourself from your employer and realize that you’re on your own. Abandon any remaining tinges of loyalty to your employer (who long ago abandoned any sense of obligation to you) and instead think of your job and yourself the same way free-agent athletes do.”

Exactly. The job is a commodity; many here will tell you it's the employer's job, not your job.

Fine. Just don't expect me to fall on my sword for the company anymore.

42 posted on 03/09/2007 4:33:29 AM PST by banjo joe (Work the angles. Show all work.)
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To: dfwgator
There's no problem so great that a government program can't make it even worse.

Not only that, but if you look critically at the problem, you're likely to find that a government program caused it in the first place.

43 posted on 03/09/2007 4:37:48 AM PST by Tax-chick (Nihil curo de ista tua stulta superstitione.)
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To: duckman

"How about EZTRIEVE, big market for that!"

Good Lord! I remember that from back in the late seventies.


44 posted on 03/09/2007 7:41:50 AM PST by dljordan
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To: dljordan

"Good Lord! I remember that from back in the late seventies."
Yep, I'm an oldie but goodie alright.


45 posted on 03/09/2007 10:53:26 AM PST by duckman (I refuse to use a tag line...I mean it.)
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