IT Staffing in 2014: Mind the Gap

79214824While 222,000 IT jobs were added to the economy last year, according to TechServe Alliance, only 50,000 U.S. students graduated with an IT degrees.

The IT marketplace is simply tremendous right now. Not only have jobs in traditional sectors like security rebounded faster than other professions, demand for new skillsets such as mobility and cloud computing are now business critical.

This is great news if you’re an IT professional, as the opportunities and compensation are recovering ahead of most other fields.

If you’re seeking IT talent on the other hand, your job just keeps getting tougher. Employers are working harder to retain existing tech staffers and attract new employees. Hiring managers and recruiters are facing increases in voluntary turnover and candidates turning down job offers.

PREMIUM CONTENT: IT Staffing Growth Update

Why should we mind the gap? In economic terms it represents real work that needs to get done to help businesses grow. More broadly, this work is fuel to our national economic recovery. When the work can’t get done, it creates drag on the businesses as well as the economy as a  whole.

While there is no single solution to bridge the gap, I believe several components are essential to an effective response.

The future of the U.S. economy depends on our ability to cultivate a generation of STEM graduates (students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math). Attrition rates in these majors are inexplicably high, even as 85 percent of college graduates boomerang back home for lack of job opportunity, according to CNNMoney.

Not surprisingly, I believe IT talent partners play a critical role, at the most basic level to simply enable businesses to keep pace with the volume and complexity of IT recruitment. But it’s also time to raise our games, and strategically deploy our recruiting expertise and processes to deliver the right IT talent at the speed of our customers’ businesses today.

Finally, while controversial on its face, there is no way to fill the current and expanding gap without challenging paradigms of labor supply and demand. Immigration reform that gives U.S. businesses access to the best and brightest from an international pool of IT talent is necessary to meet demand that cannot be satisfied domestically. Contrary to traditional notions that filling these jobs internationally costs Americans’ jobs, in reality what we’re seeing is that filling these jobs accelerates business growth and stimulates job opportunity.

MORE: 2014 job market forecast

Kevin Horner
Kevin Horner is CEO of Mastech Inc.

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