By Bill Hethcock, Staff Writer, Dallas Business Journal
Jim Thompson, president and CEO of The InSource Group, a Dallas-based information technology staffing and placement company, says the IT job market is extremely tight in North Texas. That’s a problem for all businesses because it slows job growth and economic expansion across the board, Thompson told me in an interview.
The scarcity of IT talent is only going to grow as about 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age daily. CIOs should start planning now for the baby boomer exodus by giving incentives to keep experienced workers on the job longer while identifying younger candidates who can be mentored to potentially take over in a few years,Thompson said.
Here Thompson’s take on the IT job market and what employers should do to attract the best and brightest in tight times.
What is the state of the IT market in North Texas?
There are significant numbers of vacancies in IT positions every single month. I think the situation is only going to get worse, exacerbated by baby boomers retiring, a limited number of H1-B visas to employ non-citizens for jobs that require specialized training, and the lack of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) graduates who are staying in this country and taking those kind of jobs.
What will that mean for wages?
You’re going to see real upward pressure on salaries for these kind of skills. Not only are people going to have to pay more, but individuals who are seeking these IT jobs are going to be faced with multiple offers. So the quality of the work environment, the flexibility they might have, the length of their commute, any reimbursements for technical training or degree-related things all are going to start coming into play.
So, what’s an employer to do to attract the best in the IT field?
They have to make sure they are competitive across a variety of different fronts, of which compensation is one. They need to be able to hire quickly. If they have a long, bureaucratic process with some significant number of interviews or steps they have to go through, these high-demand candidates will be gone. They will be off the market.
Any other advice for employers?
They need to be flexible with the talent that is available. There’s no such thing as a perfect candidate. Be prepared to make the compromise necessary to bring talent on board. And they need to always be out there, interviewing and networking. You really have to view that as a critical part of any senior executive’s job.
What should be done on the immigration policy front?
If we do not graduate enough students in the STEM fields, the only way to solve that problem is to increase the number of H1-B visas. We should offer green cards to the people who are graduating and encourage them to stay in this country and go to work for technical organizations or found their own business and contribute to the growth of our economy instead of sending them back to China or Japan or Malaysia. We don’t seem to be able to get our minds around that.