Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
Commentary
1/12/2008
09:13 AM
Chris Murphy
Chris Murphy
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Hard Facts To Fuel The IT Talent Shortage Debate

We've got a great debate posted with two top researchers over whether there's a U.S. IT talent shortage. If you're keen on fear-mongering and histrionics, this package isn't for you. If you want two serious scholars making succinct arguments backed up with facts, read on.

We've got a great debate posted with two top researchers over whether there's a U.S. IT talent shortage. If you're keen on fear-mongering and histrionics, this package isn't for you. If you want two serious scholars making succinct arguments backed up with facts, read on.Here are excerpts from the two professors' articles.

Professor Ron Hira acknowledges the IT job market's been OK, but he contends there's no shortage. He offers a risk-benefit analysis for U.S. IT workers -- and concludes that the threats, like the huge workforces U.S. tech firms are building abroad, aren't offset by relatively modest pay raises.

In addition, the risk of technological obsolescence and age discrimination are higher in IT relative to other professions. How many physicians or pharmacists become obsolete at age 40? Put in this context, it's hard to believe that the very modest wage gains of the past few years balance the increases in IT employee risk.

Professor Jerry Luftman sees a critical IT talent shortage and contends it will only get worse as baby boomers retire. And he laments the lack of action that he says is causing a "skills famine" across science, tech, engineering, and math:

U.S. IT executives have reported their concerns about the talent shortage of qualified American job seekers, and they have been largely ignored. As far back as 1998, the Society for Information Management (SIM) stated that educational institutions, organizations, and government must "take decisive action now" to address the shortage of skilled IT pros. Nine years down the road, IT leaders still report that their greatest challenge is recruiting the right IT people and then developing and retaining them.

A third piece in our package tries to assess what you think, based on a survey of more than 1,000 people involved in the tech hiring process. The conclusion:

The most prevalent view -- by 45% of managers and 40% of staff -- is that there's a shortage only in certain IT specialties and some geographies. Another quarter of staffers and 29% of managers see a shortage in many IT areas. ... Twenty-three percent of managers and 29% of staffers say there's no U.S. shortage.

The debate over whether there's a U.S. tech talent shortage will likely intensify this year if there's an economic slowdown, even if it doesn't take the same grim jobs toll it did earlier this decade. We hoped by giving two of the top researchers in the field a platform to discuss the topic, it would bring some fresh thinking and hard data to the topic. Let us know how we did, and what you think.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 14, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.