Monday, November 17, 2008

Is the IT Labor shortage real?

For several years, we have been hearing about a shortage of skilled technology labor in the US. In some specific areas - geographic and skillsets - the reality of a shortage is undeniable. Senior developers, system architects and application-specific experts (like SAP, Oracle, etc.) seem to perennially be in short supply.

Yet, some research published by Duke University earlier this year suggests that the shortage of skilled IT resources is not as dire as some would suggest. Certainly, business leaders testifying before Congress have little to lose with hyperbolic claims of not being able to find enough workers to keep the US economy going. But out here in the real world, the story is not quite so simple. Dr. Michael Teitelbaum, vice president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, testified before Congress a year ago that ...

The RAND Corporation has conducted several studies of this subject; its conclusions go further than my summary above, saying that not only could they not find any evidence of shortages, but that instead the evidence is more suggestive of surpluses.

To me this conclusion is too generalized and vague to be of any use in the micro-economic world of the individual firm. The dynamics of the labor market are still very localized, even in a "global" economy. A company in Pittsburgh doesn't care if there are plenty of .NET developers in Denver. So while - on average - there may not be an overall labor shortage across the US, the situation may be dramatically different in specific markets.

What about your market? Are you experiencing difficulties in hiring technology resources? Or are you getting more résumés than ever?

A perspective on this question from Baseline Magazine : Is there really an IT labor shortage

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