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The Time is Right: Start Hunting for Employees Who Can Bring IT Skills to Your Business

Posted By Bob Ogle, Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013

By Bob Ogle

If you’ve been thinking about beefing up your IT staff, it might be time to accelerate your search, according to a study recently released by the career website Monster.com.

After conducting a survey of 200 companies, Monster reports that while hiring in some sectors of the economy may be relatively sluggish, technology skills are in high demand by companies of all sizes. This is particularly important in the security industry, with the accelerating emergence of technology-driven offerings like video surveillance, electronic access, remotely controlled services, wireless networking and integrated home-control systems (such as electronic entertainment, thermostats, lights or appliances).

More than 80 percent of the companies surveyed by Monster said they plan to hire IT personnel in the coming months; 82 percent said they were focusing on acquiring talent that would align business and technology goals.

There’s one snag, though: The survey also reported that 70 percent of the companies were finding a shortage of qualified candidates for their available positions.

That finding echoes a similar study recently released by the staffing company Robert Half International regarding overall hiring among small businesses. In response to a question about the greatest challenge in finding employees, 60 percent of those surveyed said the biggest hurdle is finding people with the right skill set.

The IT shortage is largely because workers are becoming more specialized, Monster said. Among skill sets that are expected to be increasingly in demand for the electronic security industry, 56 percent of the businesses said they’ll be searching for networking experts, while 30 percent said they’ll be focusing on recruiting specialists in mobile or wireless technology.

That means companies are tightly focused on workers with specific skill sets, Monster said, which brings up a second issue. More than half of the employers (52 percent) said they are unable to compete for candidates on salary alone.

So how can your company make a stand in a surprisingly tight competition for available IT talent? Anita Campbell, who closely follows trends in technology and staffing as CEO of SmallBizTrends.com, offers some suggestions:

Be competitive. Even though your budget may be tight, try to make your salary and benefits competitive. It’s an IT job hunter’s market, so consider the advantages a skilled IT employee will add to your business, especially in light of the rapid pace of technological change. The right person should pay for himself or herself, so stretch your budget if you can.

Smaller can be better. While larger businesses might have the edge in financial resources and standard benefits, small businesses offer their own advantages, such as a casual environment, schedule flexibility, the opportunity to truly make an impact, and room for an entry-level person to grow and wear multiple hats. This situation appears to the mindset of many IT workers, so small businesses should present themselves as an alternative to a big-business environment.

Use your connections. Tap into your networks both online and offline, including your existing employees. Let them know what you’re searching for. You never know when your administrative assistant’s cousin’s girlfriend will turn out to have just the qualifications you’re looking for.

Rely on local schools. Align with local colleges and universities that train students in IT, either degree programs or certifications. Let them know you’re seeking employees and what your business has to offer. You may be able to develop a pipeline of qualified candidates with fresh training, up-to-date skills and lots of energy and enthusiasm for using their freshly minted degrees and certifications.

Tags:  employees  IT skills  technology 

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