I’m constantly talking to technology companies and they’re echoing a similar refrain…There’s a war for good technical skills that shows no signs of abating. Even more of a challenge is the ability to find people with a combination of engineering talent and good people skills.
Since this talent is at the heart of the technology sector, it behooves us to understand the trends that are affecting the industry and to look at ways of trying to improve the situation. Here’s what’s going on:
Companies are too rigid in their search criteria: The marketplace is looking for more and more specific skills including backgrounds in java, .net, android development, SAP/BW skills, or whatever. The search tools available are making it easier than ever to add an endless stream of acronyms. The tighter the search, the fewer the candidates.
Availability of seed funding and less expensive start-up costs: Because of the surge in early stage funding, getting new consumer web companies off the ground is vastly cheaper today than it was just a few years ago. Since these investments are much smaller than later round ones it means that far more early stage companies are getting funded, and they all need engineers to get them up and running.
The number of graduates is shrinking: Enrolment in Post Secondary Math and Computer Science programs has declined by 30% in the last decade. In 2003 there were 11,040 degrees granted and in 2007 only 8,547.
Increasing demands for engineering and math skills in a variety of jobs: This puts pressure on graduates deciding on information technology.
Aging of the work force: As the workforce ages they are less inclined to travel or to change positions. As well, they are worried about moving to unstable companies who may be making false promises.
Students are staying in school longer
Greater international competition for labour: Many graduates who historically stayed in Canada after graduating are now heading overseas or back home.
Senior people are moving to contract work as opposed to full-time positions
So, what can we do?
Supply and demand for various skills are in a constant state of flux. The one true thing you can count on is that if you’re a good place to work, with good leadership and a positive environment, then you’ll be a destination for talent.