Strategic CIO // Executive Insights & Innovation
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8/31/2007
03:01 PM
Rob Preston
Rob Preston
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Where Are All The IT Jobs And People? Expand Your Horizons.

It's one of the great IT dichotomies of our time: Employers fret over a tech talent or labor shortage, while employees say jobs are as scarce as ever. Where's the disconnect?

It's one of the great IT dichotomies of our time: Employers fret over a tech talent or labor shortage, while employees say jobs are as scarce as ever. Where's the disconnect?The issue is a tad more complicated than siding with one camp over the other. Let's just say that there are plenty of good tech jobs to be had, if only employers would do a better job of recruiting and employees would expand their options.

One of those options is the nonprofit organization. In a new survey of nonprofits by Johns Hopkins Institute, 70% of the 290 or so organizations that said they're trying to recruit IT personnel said the task is "extremely challenging" or "somewhat challenging." Their main obstacle: the perception that nonprofits don't pay well, cited by 87% of the nonprofits surveyed. The next biggest hurdle, cited by 71% of nonprofits: the perception that they offer limited career advancement opportunities.

Stephanie Lessans Geller, a Johns Hopkins Institute researcher and one of the authors of the report, says those notions are mostly bunk. In fact, she says, some nonprofits offer above-average compensation packages for key positions.

We're not just talking about small, hand-to-mouth organizations here. Although nonprofits include charities on tight budgets, they also encompass universities, health care providers, museums, and other institutions of means.

Conversely, nonprofits and other tech employers must get better at recruiting. In a recent interview with Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO of Indian IT services company Infosys, he lamented that the company's "brand equity" in the States isn't what he'd like it to be, especially as Infosys seeks to hire for its offices nationwide. Where is Infosys trying to build that brand equity? Among the top grads at MIT, Stanford, Penn, and other blue-chip universities.

Not to pick on Infosys, which is making an effort, but tech employers must cast their nets much wider as well.

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