Will Employee Shortage Be Another Y2K?

Ann All

The good news about IT jobs is that there should be a lot more of them in the next decade or so. The bad news: There may not be enough qualified workers to fill them.


But while we -- and plenty of other folks -- have been commenting on the unfortunate convergence of increasing IT demand, retiring baby boomers and falling numbers of university students studying IT-related subjects, lots of CIOs and other executives are not paying attention, according to TechRepublic blogger Ramon Padilla.


Rather than ignoring the forthcoming knowledge drain, as he contends many executives are doing, Padilla says companies should treat it as crisis of Y2K-like proportions. Begin risk assessments as soon as possible. Begin mentoring and cross-training employees. Begin documenting all of your systems. In fact, ask for an additional position devoted expressly to documentation purposes.


Is Padilla overreacting? Maybe not. In addition to the retiring boomers, a thriving economy, the emergence of new Web applications and Microsoft's impending launch of a bunch of new products are driving IT job demand.


In an interview with IT Business Edge, a Robert Half Technology VP says companies better start paying more attention to both recruitment and retention strategies.


The VP is a big fan of using temporary resources to supplement full-time staffers. Folks with an in-demand skill "know they are valuable" and enjoy moving from project to project, he says. Rather than investing a lot of time and money to hire such workers, he suggests employing them on a temporary basis and ensuring that they help educate your full-time staff.


"What you're left with is minimal commitment to somebody that's not going to stay around, your project is done, and you've educated your team as well," he says.

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