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
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
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:
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