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Dealing With the ECM Skills Shortage

One HR professional at a major healthcare firm told me this week that enterprise content management-skilled applicants are looking for approximately 40% more in base pay than their peers with a background in CRM or ERP... My advice (unchanged over the years) is to...
Enterprises are facing something of a recruitment dilemma at the moment; one HR professional at a major healthcare firm told me this week that enterprise content management (ECM)-skilled applicants are looking for approximately 40% more in base pay than their peers with a background in CRM or ERP. This healthcare firm simply doesn't have budget to make the required hires, and that is not an uncommon situation.

Truth is, ECM professionals have been in short supply for a long time -- and even mediocre people can demand and receive decent money in this sector. This of course is a real challenge for employers.My advice (unchanged over the years) is to first separate out clearly those who need:

  • Technical skills related to the ECM products you are using
  • Business process and change management skills
  • Library services and information management skills

Don't try to get one person who can do all of these things; that's like looking for a purple squirrel (it would be cool if you could find one, but you're not going to). ECM projects will require all of these skills and in near equal measure, but you will need a combination of people and will not pay the same rate for each.

Technical skills for ECM products can range from deep understanding of a particular product, such as LiveLink or Documentum, to more general database administration and application development skills. Depending on your actual needs, you may pay a king's ransom or simply the regular IT rate for such staff. Business process/analyst change management skills again can come at widely different price points, but are typically more affordable than one might think. Library services staff are usually at the lower end of the IT pay scale (even though their work is arguably the most specialized).

By separating out the differing skill sets you can recruit the right people at the right pay levels. And you can look to such resources at ARMA, AIIM, or for that matter LinkedIn with a greater level of success than simply advertising generally for an ECM Architect or Specialist -- terms that could, and sometimes do, mean almost anything.One HR professional at a major healthcare firm told me this week that enterprise content management-skilled applicants are looking for approximately 40% more in base pay than their peers with a background in CRM or ERP... My advice (unchanged over the years) is to...