Recruiting Challenges Getting Tougher in High-Tech Sector, SHRM Says

Don Tennant

According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, it’s getting significantly harder for organizations in the high-tech sector to find the qualified workers they need.

The SHRM survey, the results of which were released last month, found that nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the organizations surveyed found it somewhat or very difficult to recruit qualified candidates in 2011. By comparison, in 2010 less than half (47 percent) of the organizations said they were experiencing difficulty to that degree. The survey also found that among the high-tech industry organizations that are currently hiring full-time staff, 71 percent reported having difficulty recruiting for specific open jobs. Here are some of the other findings that I found particularly interesting:

What types of jobs are the most difficult to fill in the high-tech industry?

Engineers (95 percent)

High-skilled technical, including technicians and programmers (88 percent)

Sales representatives (79 percent)

Managers and executives (78 percent)

Customer service representatives (47 percent).

Has your organization hired any workers from outside the U.S. in an attempt to fill key jobs that are difficult to fill?


Yes (50 percent)

No (44 percent)

No, but we are considering it (6 percent)

No, but we have plans to do so in the next 12 months (1 percent)

In general, what basic skills/knowledge gaps do job applicants have in the high-tech industry?

Writing in English (grammar, spelling, etc.) (40 percent)

English language (spoken) (37 percent)

Mathematics (computation) (28 percent)

Science (27 percent)

Reading comprehension (in English) (16 percent)

Technical (computer, engineering, mechanical, etc.) (16 percent)

Foreign languages (7 percent)

Government/economics (6 percent)

Humanities/arts (1 percent)

History/geography (0 percent)

Other (7 percent)

In general, what applied skill gaps do job applicants have in the high-tech industry?

Critical thinking/problem solving (48 percent)

Information technology application (47 percent)

Leadership (36 percent)

Teamwork/collaboration (35 percent)

Professionalism/work ethic (34 percent)

Oral communications (32 percent)

Written communications (32 percent)

Creativity/innovation (27 percent)

Diversity (22 percent)

Lifelong learning/self-direction (18 percent)

Ethics/social responsibility (14 percent)

Other (6 percent)



Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Aug 30, 2012 8:04 AM jake_leone jake_leone  says:
You know if you are willing to pay a competitive salary, even in Silicon Valley you can find qualified people quickly. Recent, this year, hiring where I work has shown me this. Why are salary increases always the last method that most companies consider as a recruitment method? Is it because a CEO wants to keep up the 90+k profit level per employee? Rent is sky-high in Silicon Valley, commute is hell, you've got to be willing to match your pay with the reality that your workers are living in. The U.S. is great place to live, because we are a capital intensive country, as opposed to a labor intensive one. You know there is such a move towards open source, most of which is highly labor intensive. An excellent example is the number of Selenium Automator ads out there versus say SilkTest or QTP (which are faster to develop with, but cost around 10k seat). And as a society, we have to realize that just bringing cheap workers will not help our people and our standard of living, as more lower-paid workers are crammed in fewer-and-fewer livable structures. Reply
Sep 1, 2012 10:22 AM Dolores Dolores  says:
Because they won't stop looking for purple squirrels. Reply
Sep 6, 2012 3:11 AM Wakjon Wakjon  says:
30 million Americans out of work and they keep crying they can't find enough qualified people. Pure bunk. The cheap labor bandwagon propaganda continues. Reply

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