Employers Seek IT Pros with 'Dead-on' Skills

Susan Hall
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CIOs continue to fret over hiring people with the right skills, according to this post by consultancy Asocia based on the Fusion 2011 CEO-CIO Symposium in Madison, Wis.


The post reminded me of my interview earlier this year with Krishnan Chatterjee, chief marketing officer for offshore IT and software development company HCL about its publication "CIO Straight Talk: For CIOs from CIOs."


In the Asocia post, Rick Davidson, director of the information services practice at AlixPartners, a Chicago-based management consulting firm specializing in corporate turnarounds and business and IT transformations, puts it this way:

There is $2 trillion dollars sitting on the sidelines. That money is going to get invested somewhere pretty quickly. Rather than focusing on only cost reduction, companies now are identifying what they need to do now to develop new capabilities-how do they come out of this recession ready to grab market share and customer mind share.

Chatterjee described CIOs as "a rather beleaguered lot," increasingly required to drive business value while at the same time losing control of security through cloud-based software and mobile devices. In a post today, my colleague Ann All quotes Cook Associates SVP Seth Harris, saying:

CEOs have higher expectations of CIOs in terms of their knowledge of the business and being able to solve business problems through the use of technology.

A central theme is that CIOs have big plans and that can call for big hiring plans as well. I tried to put together some hiring numbers from the big players, but clearly they're not the only ones. At the conference, when asked who's hiring, 75 percent of the participants raised their hands. And difficulty in hiring can stymie those plans.


Job site Dice.com has reported its 76,000 current job openings on the site represent a 30 percent year-over-year increase and 13 consecutive months of gains. Still employers fuss about finding the right skills. They probably should fuss just as much about finding the person with the right skills who is a good cultural match for the company.


Despite the demand, salaries for the most part have improved little. (Actually, I just reported a slide in 2010.) And Alice Hill of Dice.com is quoted saying:

"... CIOs are not willing to take a chance on somebody from a slightly related field. They want someone who is dead-on in terms of their skill set, so they can plug them into their organization right now," Hill said. The newer the area-cloud or mobile, for example-the harder it is to find the right skills. "That is why poaching is such a risk."

With pressure on CIOs to produce business growth quickly, it's understandable that they want new hires who can hit the ground running. But that "dead-on" job candidate often remains elusive.

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