The Impact of the IT Talent Shortage on Every IndustryThere are few professions more ubiquitous to every industry than those in information technology. From healthcare to finance, manufacturing to the IT sector itself, the demand for technical talent is ever-growing. An accelerated pace of innovation in areas like mobility, big data, application development and cybersecurity is impacting every company, no matter their service or product. To remain competitive, compliant, and efficient, companies require IT talent that can take them to the next level. However, those professionals are in scarce supply.

High demand isn’t the only reason behind the IT talent shortage. The problem is two-fold. First, uncertainty in immigration is severely impacting the number of international professionals the US is able to employ. In IT, securing H-1B’s has long been a dependable strategy for hiring technical talent, but this option is becoming less feasible, which in turn reduces the available talent pool. Secondly, because demand has traditionally been filled by offshore talent, investment in university programs and computer science degrees has dwindled. In fact, computer science is one of the least-awarded degrees. Even for students who do enroll in STEM-related fields, only one third of them end up employed in those fields after graduation.

In short, the IT talent shortage is a very real challenge for employers across every industry. Below we explore the impact and take a look at possible resolutions.

The Impact of the IT Talent Shortage on Your Workforce

60 percent of CIOs across industries are experiencing skills shortages in their organizations. This is particularly the case in data analytics, software development, and cybersecurity. These three areas are critical to the health and innovation of almost every company. Data analytics enable business leaders to make more informed data-driven decisions. Software development is integral to streamlining processes and delivering a better service, product, or experience. Cybersecurity, of course, is growing ever more important in the wake of an exponential growth in cyber hacks and malware attacks. Without talent in these areas, organizations will suffer from lost revenue, employee burnout, delayed product development, and more.

In many cases, employers are being forced to hire IT candidates who fall short of the position requirements; a study of 1000 hiring managers revealed as many as 53 percent have done so, owing to either a lack of available talent or a lack of time to identify qualified candidates. This can be a risky move, as an IT employee’s performance can have significant impact on the timeline, budget, quality, and effectiveness of any given technical project. It also puts greater pressure on other team members to bring the new hire up to speed and take on the burden of work than is not completed during the ramp-up period.

Finally, the IT skills shortage translates directly into high competition, which in turns leads to increasing salaries. In fact, Peter Cappelli, director of The Wharton School’s Center for Human Resources, says that the shortage isn’t necessarily as severe as it may appear. It simply depends on how much you’re willing to pay for the right talent. Keeping up with market rates is essential to attracting and securing IT professionals in today’s market. Cappelli suggests that companies ask themselves whether they could find who they’re looking for if they increased their salaries. The answer to this depends on the specific skill sets you’re searching for, but either way, money is certainly part of the equation and accurate, up-to-date market research is essential.

How Companies Can Adapt to the IT Skills Shortage

Many organizations are hyper-focused on how their IT strategies align with business objectives. For healthcare providers, IT is transforming the way healthcare is delivered and organized; they need IT strategies that keep them simultaneously innovative and compliant with a myriad of regulations. In the finance sector, IT is reinventing the digital ledger and forecasting capabilities, automating processes and procedures, and protecting companies against sensitive data breaches. These two industries are just a couple of examples of how companies are being driven by technology.

But here’s the caveat: they can only be driven by technology when there is talent to do the driving. CIOs and other company leaders who are building technology strategies must realign their priorities and understand that talent comes first. Strategies, plans, and projects can only be successful with the right talent to execute. A focus on employer branding, hiring strategies, and retention tactics must be the top priority.

Finally, investing in training and development is a key initiative for helping to fix the IT talent shortage. The unfortunate reality is that, according to the Department of Labor, barely a third of the 1.4 million computer occupations available by 2020 will be filled. Thus, companies must be proactive in helping to develop the talent they need. Classroom and on-line training, education reimbursements, certification programs, and more will be critical tools in the process.

At MDI Group, we are responding to the skills shortage with this very approach. We have developed a technical immersion program to deliver qualified IT consultants with hard-to-find skill sets to our clients. Our ID2 Workforce Solution is proving highly successful in increasing the talent pool for our client organizations.

How is your company impacted by the IT skills gap? Partnering with a leading IT staffing firm may be your solution to speeding up the hiring process and increasing the quality of your candidates. Interested in hearing more about our ID2 talent development program? Contact us today!

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Ella KoscikElla Koscik is the CEO, Chairperson of the Board & Owner of MDI Group. If you are interested in learning more about hiring in IT, contact us at connect@mdigroup.com or 888-416-7949. MDI Group has offices and specializes in recruiting IT talent in Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Greenville and Phoenix. Looking for a rewarding career in Sales or Recruiting? MDI Group is hiring today!