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IT Positions Some of the Toughest Jobs To Fill In US 886

coondoggie writes "Forty-nine percent of U.S. companies are having a hard time filling what workforce management firm ManpowerGroup calls mission-critical positions within their organizations. IT staff, engineers and 'skilled trades' are among the toughest spots to fill. The group surveyed some 1,300 employers and noted that U.S. companies are struggling to find talent, despite continued high unemployment, over their global counterparts, where 34% of employers worldwide are having difficulty filling positions."
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IT Positions Some of the Toughest Jobs To Fill In US

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  • Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:45PM (#40157445)
    Maybe they are hard to fill because they dont pay enough?
    • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Funny)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:47PM (#40157469) Journal
      Impossible. As everybody skilled in economics knows, there are no low salaries, only lazy workers.
      • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:09PM (#40157843)

        Wrong. What you meant to say was:

        "Impossible. As every MBA knows, there are no low salaries, only lazy workers."

        It's not economists who are running these companies.

        • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Interesting)

          by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @03:04PM (#40158589)

          Do you have a reference from an MBA text book to point this out? I didn't get taught any of that with my MBA.

          Economics 101 Supply and Demand with Substitution.

          Your salary is based on the Supply of available workers and the Demand for that type of work. (which under this condition would show that IT workers should be paying a lot more) Then you have Substitution, meaning while there is a lot of Demand and short Supply the Companies have substitution available.

          Lets say a DBA. I good DBA is an excellent asset to a company. They can extract data and find information that you didn't even know you had, you can get your systems running really fast. Now however if you don't have that DBA depending on the company size how much are they loosing with Excel Files and Access Databases, and people who have to do a lot of time intensive work. So the DBA will need to compete with the inferior substitution because if his salary is too high, it isn't worth it, because there may be alternate methods.

          In my area DBA's get good money because they are valuable. However if you are a just a programmer it isn't that their work is easier or they are lazier, but because there are more available, so that means their prices are less.

          Now if you prove yourself a hard worker, (and the company is using proper HR policies), The company will see your value as greater and give you a raise, and try harder to retain you. Because there is a demand for a hard worker and less of supply of such.

          Now a lot of companies will try to dig from the bottom of the barrel to try to find a Diamond in the rough "A really good employee for cheap" now this is a method of disaster, however that is what they do, because their cash is tight.

          The MBA classes do teach that the higher you pay a person the harder they will work (not the opposite) however, most of these MBA's you talk about are not MBA's but some guy with a AB or BB degree. and just because they are in a higher position, you figure they are MBAs.

          That is an MBA and Basic Economists analysis of why the salaries are the way they are.


          • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

            by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @04:18PM (#40159731)

            Now if you prove yourself a hard worker, (and the company is using proper HR policies), The company will see your value as greater and give you a raise, and try harder to retain you.

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I've never seen this anywhere I've worked. There are so many things wrong with that statement it's hard to even know where to begin:

            1. The best IT people are NOT hard working. They are astoundingly LAZY. They write almost nothing and never look like they are doing anything. And yet their code is fast, clean, maintainable and they are always moving to the next project because the last one is in production and butter smooth. It's 100% impossible for an IT outsider to know who the good employees are.

            2. I've never been at a company that used any HR policy that even found good employees period. They SHOULD concentrate on what you accomplished and how much money it made or saved the company. Instead, they usually devolve into twisted popularity contests or seeing who is the most obsequious or who is the best meaningless rule-follower.

            3. I've never been at a company (that wasn't a consulting company) where they gave ANY value to IT workers period. Despite the fact that you are out-earning them 2:1 in some cases and that your IQ is 25-30 points higher than theirs, they treat you like you are some dumb plumber or auto mechanic that dropped out of high school and are overcharging them for fixing their car or something.

            4. Companies will spend a fortune to attract new talent and pay recruiters 10-15% for the privilege. But they have stupid rules in place that PREVENT them from EVER giving a 5% raise to an IT worker no matter how valuable they are. As such, they spend all their time re-training instead of retaining.

            • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

              by erp_consultant ( 2614861 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @04:22PM (#40159815)
              "I've never been at a company (that wasn't a consulting company) where they gave ANY value to IT workers period" - That's why I went into consulting. Working in IT support puts you in a cost center in the eyes of senior management. In consulting I am a revenue generator. The difference is night and day in terms of how are you treated.
          • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

            by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @06:33PM (#40161349)

            "The MBA classes do teach that the higher you pay a person the harder they will work (not the opposite)"

            Good story. It's only it fails to explain why -oh why, there's a "... Forty-nine percent of U.S. companies having a hard time filling what workforce management firm ManpowerGroup calls mission-critical positions within their organizations. IT staff" on a country that just a decade ago had a surplus on such roles.

            The MBA classes might teach whatever they (say) want. Quite a different issue is what their students learn... which basically ends up being "let's cry the government so we can get some more H1Bs on the cheap, get this quarter numbers fit and so get our bonuses and the hell with anything else".

        • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Funny)

          by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @03:06PM (#40158621)

          Partially correct, but you are missing the most important thing gone awry in IT today.

          Dear company,

          While I understand you have vast needs in the IT area, and wish to do less with more there are limits to human capacity. I can not fill the role of Senior Unix Analyst/Engineer/Architect, Network Analyst/Engineer/Architect, MS Windows Analyst/Engineer/Architect, Storage SAN/NAS Analyst/Engineer/Architect, Firewall and Security Analyst/Engineer/Architect any more than you would expect your CPA to be your attorney, business analyst and lead sales person. You need to pick one or two of these things, preferably what I have spent twenty years mastering and allow me to do my job.

          I also understand that you have developers that read trade magazines and demand that they have what they read about. This has created workplaces that are impossible to support. There should be no more than three versions of any Operating system on site and those should be limited to not more than 2 types of Linux. One for development, one for production, and one for legacy. Allow your IT staff to keep your development on track, give us the reigns and watch how fast you can go and how far you can drive.

          Lastly, contrary to popular belief IT people enjoy time away from work and the office. We do not like to be on call 24/7/365 with no bonuses and no breaks. We expect to be treated with the same respect as the Corporate Lawyer that saves your ass in court, as we often save your ass with our magical IT skills and keep production up and moving even when systems collapse.

    • Re:Salaries (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:48PM (#40157477)

      After I gave notice at my last job, my boss complained it was hard to replace me - and not because of a lack of applicants. In a nutshell, he said that all of the applicants either had zero relevant experience or they had great experience and tech skills but had absolutely no interpersonal skills. I've found that the ability to talk to non-technical people is more important to most hiring managers simply because it's a lot easier to train someone to be technical than it is to train them to work with people.

      • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Funny)

        by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:53PM (#40157561)

        So what you say is you take what the non-technical people say back to the technical people. Couldn't the technical people just talk to the technical people directly?

      • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:55PM (#40157603) Homepage Journal

        While interpersonal skills are important, in many jobs I've had there is WAY too much emphasis put on them. I personally believe this is because it is a skillset that a manager can understand while the non-technical types don't understand the technical competence. For certain I.T. people and programming-types it's much more important, IMHO, that they understand the technical side as 95% of their job should be in front of the computer (this is excepting support personnel that have to deal with the public). I've seen quite a number of work situations where it is the other way around.

        • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jythie ( 914043 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:48PM (#40158389)
          *nods* since it is often MBAs doing the hiring, they tend to want people like themselves.. extroverted and people-centric.. the problem is people like that generally go get MBAs or other people oriented degrees rather then technical degrees. When engineers are in charge of hiring other engineers things tend to go smoother.
        • Re:Salaries (Score:4, Insightful)

          by mjr167 ( 2477430 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @03:37PM (#40159077)
          It doesn't matter how brilliant you are if no one is willing to work with you or you cannot communicate your brilliance to others.
          • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Informative)

            by PRMan ( 959735 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @04:24PM (#40159833)

            There are 2 types of engineers that can't communicate.

            1. Ones that can't communicate with non-technical people. I can find a place for them.

            2. Ones that can't communicate with technical people either because they are total jerks. There is NO place for them.

      • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:01PM (#40157711)

        I've found that the ability to talk to non-technical people is more important to most hiring managers simply because it's a lot easier to train someone to be technical than it is to train them to work with people.

        I disagree with that.

        I think it is easier for the hiring managers to evaluate "interpersonal skills" than it is for them to evaluate "technical skills". And since it is easier for them, they value those skills more. [] []

      • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Informative)

        by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:03PM (#40157741)

        I don't buy that.
        I think it comes down to $$$. Same reason Jobs put Apple factories overseas to save ~$25 per iPod.

        If the hidden-camera videos on youtube are accurate, the companies DON'T want to find U.S. workers, but instead collect resumes (per requirements of U.S. law) simply to throw them in the trash afterwards. Their real mission is to claim "we can't find any locals" to the Congress, so they can apply for temporary visas to import cheaper workers from overseas.

        • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:14PM (#40157917)

          The only problem I have with this conspiracy theory is that it might be true for some giant company like MS or Intel which has political connections and hires lots of H1Bs, but it surely can't be true for some piddly little 500-person (or even 3000-person) company. The smaller companies don't have a lot of political connections, and time is of the essence to them; they can't wait the time needed to get a bunch of temporary visas to import cheaper workers, in fact the smaller companies usually don't seem to have any imported workers in my experience. Yet I still see lots of ridiculous requirements in job requisitions from smaller companies.

          • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Interesting)

            by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:23PM (#40158065) Homepage Journal

            I've bought specialized software from some small home-grown companies of 3-4 programmers with at least 50% of the programmers being H1b. Yes it isn't evidence, but it does happen more than you think.

          • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Captain Hook ( 923766 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:37PM (#40158249)

            The only problem I have with this conspiracy theory is that it might be true for some giant company like MS or Intel which has political connections and hires lots of H1Bs

            I think it's an ecosystem problem, if a significant proportion of the IT jobs are being replaced via off-shoring or outsourcing to inshore companies who don't pay as well then for every job lost you've also lost a person keeping their skills up to date and then the next generation see whats happening and say "fuck that, I'll get an MBA instead".

            To start with it probably doesn't have a big affect but by the time you start losing the veterans to promotion and retirement after 10-15 years and haven't got their replacement already trained with some experience then it's too late. You need a certain critical mass of people interested in a career to keep it going or skills will be lost and once they are gone it's incredibly hard to get back at a national level.

            You need people entering the IT careers at the bottom, to have some exposure to different IT career streams and for them to have a certain expectation of being able to develop a life long career out of it, and I don't think anyone really believes that will happen any more.

            It's a self fulfilling prophecy which benefits those to have the ability to influence job markets at the expense of those who don't.

            • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

              by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:52PM (#40158453)

              I'm going to call it an HR problem.

              First, the IT people trend heavily to being introverts and poor people skills in general. So they are pretty much ineffective when it comes to recruiting talent.

              Second, HR has no idea what IT needs, either in skills or personality. So they resort to a list of buzzwords. Anyone who has ever applied to a state position has gone through being rejected because they lacks a single buzzword in their resume, or,. are one month shy of the experience requirements.

              So on the Can't Find Talent statement, I call the ultimate bullshit. They aren't looking and when they do find someone, they stupidly screen them out on stupid, irrelevant requirements.

        • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Informative)

          by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:14PM (#40157925) Homepage Journal

          The videos aren't really very hidden camera []. In fact they can be quite open about it.

      • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Informative)

        by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:04PM (#40157767) Homepage

        I hire and supervise technical staff for a living (although it's a small enough team that I'm chipping in on the tech work as well).

        I can manage somebody with fantastic technical skills but without people skills if (a) I can put him in a proverbial cave where I can keep the non-techies away from him and him away from non-techies, and (b) other techies can work with him. I would rather have somebody with great personal skills too, but if it comes down to technical skill versus people skill, I'll take the technical skill.

        You can train people skills too: you sit your problem employee down and tell him exactly what your expectations for personal behavior are, and what you need him to do differently. You be specific about what behavior is inappropriate or problematic, and tell him what you need him to do differently. If you start seeing changes in the right direction, you encourage it by telling him what he did right.

        • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:15PM (#40157943) Homepage Journal

          This is interesting because what you are saying here is to actually **develop** your workforce.

          Most corporations don't want to do that anymore.

          • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:27PM (#40158131)
            Which is why they are having trouble finding anyone. It is also probably why the day of the company/employee loyalty relationship has largely disappeared.
          • Re:Salaries (Score:4, Interesting)

            by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:48PM (#40158393) Homepage

            It's actually self-interest to develop each member of my team:
            1. If they piss off somebody important, that's going to land on me. Likewise, if they do a great job for somebody important, that's also going to land on me. So it's worth teaching them the people skills.
            2. The more my subordinates can handle without me, the less I need to do and the more I can focus on longer-term and bigger-picture issues, and the more I can focus on managing upwards rather than downwards. Also, it means I can take vacations.
            3. If I'm trying to be promoted, I need to have somebody ready to take on the work that I'm currently doing (unless I want to go insane doing 2 jobs). Grooming a subordinate (who's going to have a certain amount of loyalty to me for making that effort) to take on my job is the safest way to do that.
            4. If my subordinates leave the company, they'll be more likely have good things to say about me, which makes it easier to find good employees.

        • Re:Salaries (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:18PM (#40157995)

          This sounds like good advice. A lot of these people without people skills, especially the younger ones, probably simply haven't been in an environment where they were taught any in a positive manner. Broken or single-parent homes are the norm these days rather than the exception, and personally, as someone who grew up with a single parent, you don't get a whole lot of social training when you don't have any siblings and your one parent is gone all the time for work (including evenings). Schools certainly don't teach socialization, at least not in a positive way (more like Lord of the Flies style), so I think a lot of kids get their socialization skills in college. But this isn't all that great for technical majors since there's no women there, and only a limited amount of interaction with (male) peers for lab projects.

        • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Funny)

          by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:37PM (#40158253)

          You can train people skills too: you sit your problem employee down and tell him exactly what your expectations for personal behavior are, and what you need him to do differently. You be specific about what behavior is inappropriate or problematic, and tell him what you need him to do differently. If you start seeing changes in the right direction, you encourage it by telling him what he did right.

          Assuming you know what a RFC is, you write him a RFC. He will follow it. It'll probably look a lot like the old TCP and IP RFCs. "no evil bit" in any datagram, keep your TCP buffers small, sensible retry protocol if no response (not launch a ICBM), has something like ARP to figure out who to contact instead of flailing around or broadcasting spam mail to the whole universe, some kind of loop free spanning tree like topology to transfer problems around, semi-standardized handshaking protocol to initial and end conversation streams... Come to think of it, over the decades, networking/network programming guys have been the easiest to get along with of all techies I've known, from internalizing this kind of stuff.

    • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

      by captbob2002 ( 411323 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:49PM (#40157503)

      That seems to be the case that I see. Positions that want YEARS of experience, long lists of certifications, and pay around $34,000.

      Same with any other area, there is no shortage of people wanting jobs, there *is* a shortage of people wanting to be slaves. Shouldn't "market forces" tell these "job creators" that they are not paying enough?

      • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:57PM (#40157623) Homepage Journal

        Market forces are warped. That is what happens when you can buy laws and that is what is happening now. It's pathetic to see people scream at the free market and purchase legislators at the same time.

        • Re:Salaries (Score:4, Insightful)

          by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:30PM (#40158165) Homepage Journal

          It's pathetic to see corporations scream at the free market and purchase legislators at the same time.


          It would be pathetic, were it coincidental. The fact that it is not makes the act downright fucking evil .

    • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:51PM (#40157539) Homepage Journal

      Well, that and they are often some of least respected positions in the U.S. There are plenty of people in I.T. fed up with the fact that while it isn't really a "dead end" job, you are always in a bad situation. If you're bad at your job, you just eventually lose it. If you are good at your job, some places will be scared to advance you or, since being good at your job really mean more idle time in I.T., they'll claim it's a place to cut and STILL fire you. There's also that pesky fact that many of the baldy suits can't understand what you do.

      The way I.T. has been handled over the years by the management types is a prime problem in getting people in to the jobs. The I.T. people are smart and they see the "creative" people get respect and they see the pointy-head management get overpaid. It's no surprise that it would lose it's appeal.

    • I have a position that has been open for 6 months. No one has turned us down on salary because no one has presented a skill set strong enough to get an in-person interview let alone an offer.

      Apparently strong network security (packet/protocol level) + network operations background + minor software development + security clearance is an impossible combination to find.

      • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:06PM (#40157791)

        Sorry, I don't buy your argument.

        If you strike possessing security clearance from the listed of mandatory requirements, and change it to "must be able to obtain a security clearance", your field of candidates will open up. Yes, you will have to pay for someone to get cleared, and that is not cheap, but there is an acute shortage of information security practitioners as it is.

        The reality is IS pro's with TS/SCI clearance command a premium due to the insatiable demand from the U.S. Government and firms that do business with the same.

      • Re:Salaries (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:15PM (#40157949)

        I have a position that has been open for 6 months. No one has turned us down on salary because no one has presented a skill set strong enough to get an in-person interview let alone an offer.

        Apparently strong network security (packet/protocol level) + network operations background + minor software development + security clearance is an impossible combination to find.

        If the position has been open for six months and you have not received a qualified resume then you are doing something wrong.

      • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Frobnicator ( 565869 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:16PM (#40157971) Journal

        Apparently strong network security (packet/protocol level) + network operations background + minor software development + security clearance is an impossible combination to find.

        Ya think?
        - Network security person + clearance. One job.
        - NOC ops + clearance. One job.
        - Part time software development. One job, either part time or contract.

        Don't complain that you can't find somebody stupid enough to attempt to do all three jobs. If they already have their security clearance then their BS filter works just as good as your resume filter. There is no shortage of open jobs that are SINGLE jobs requiring security clearance.

        I've seen my own share of job postings where it is clear the job will be a nightmare just by the way they word it. The classics are like yours, listing multiple full time jobs as a single job, and then mentioning overtime will be requested for the salaried position.

        • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Interesting)

          by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:39PM (#40158279) Homepage Journal

          Depends on the size of the company. If you're a ten-person team, that could reasonably be one job because the time spent on any one of those tasks could easily be way less than a full-time position.

          That said, as soon as you add the security clearance requirement, your applicant pool dries up. There's no good way around that unless you actively poach from other companies in your field. If you're big enough to do that, you're big enough for those to each be separate positions.

      • A long time ago in a career far, far away I proposed an information management solution to the administration of the hospital I worked for. They responded by posting a position for a person to head up the project. The requirements? 5 years experience as an Oracle DBA and 10 years experience as a degreed Medical Technologist working in a human leukocyte antigen laboratory. This was in 1994 or thereabouts. An oracle DBA with 5 years experience commanded at least $65k. An HLA med-tech with 10 years exper

    • Re:Salaries (Score:5, Interesting)

      by farrellj ( 563 ) * on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:31PM (#40158177) Homepage Journal

      Too many job ads are looking for insane amount of skills in one person...They ask for a "Unix Admin" person who knows how to code in C++, C#, manage an Asterisk server, install mange & tune 1000 RHEL servers, use NAGIOS, maintain a SAP system, automate sysadmin tasks using bash/ksh/perl/PHP/C/C++, setup and manage IIS & Apache, admin websphere & coldfusion, install manage and tune Windows 2003/2008/2008R2, manage VMware/vSphere/ESX/ESXi servers, perform second level support for Windows users, manage printers, travel onsite for servicing, be on call 24/7 (for no extra pay), and be able to interact like a jolly good fellow with customers, co-works and management, oh, and write documentation and explain things as well as Carl Sagan could.

      Offered pay: $40,000-50,000/year

      Sure...lots of people like that...and all are willing to do it for $40,000 a year

      I don't think so...

      But it gets worse!

      If you don't put all the appropriate keywords they want, they won't even look at your resume, even if you could do all the things they ask for...for example, I had one recruiter, after seeing I had installed, patched, secured, put on line and monitored Solaris servers, ask me if I had ever configured a Solaris system. I explained that what I had listed includes "configuration", but he refused to send the customer my resume until I added "configured" to the sentence.

      Then you get past the HR people...and you end up with a trivia contest from the tech people...who only know one way of doing things since they learned it by rote if you don't do it their way, you don't get the job...

      Am I bit bitter at this point in my job search? Yes, just a tad. 10+ years Linux/Unix admin experience...and still can't get a job!

  • Reasons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:47PM (#40157467)

    From the article the 3 reasons why they can't find people:

    1.) lack of available applicants
    2.) applicants looking for more pay
    3.) lack of experience.

    I'm willing to bet that all 3 reasons are related to #2. Post a job listing online, looking for 20 yrs experience in Java and offer 40K/yr. Lets see anyone reasonable come try and fill that job post without asking for more money.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) *

      Lets see anyone reasonable come try and fill that job post without asking for more money.

      No they'll just go crying to their cronies in Congress to give them more H1B visas, saying there aren't any American workers out there. Then they'll hire some guy from India willing to work for next to nothing--who will produce shitty work in the long run, but hey it's all about the short term profits on paper anyway.

  • by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:47PM (#40157471)

    "IT positions some of the toughest jobs to fill in the US...because employers can't get enough cheap H1B foreign labor." This is not about finding Americans with enough technical expertise, of which there are plenty--it's about employers who aren't willing to pay for it, and want to hire cheap labor from India/China visa holders.

    • by blackbear ( 587044 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:10PM (#40157875)

      I think it goes beyond that. I'm seeing H1B's getting the same or even beter rates on contracts than US citizens or even NAFTA visa holders. In spite of that, I've seen uniformly inferior work out of those H1Bs from India. It seems to be a cultural thing since I see good and even superior work from Americans, Canadians, and Wetern Europeans of Indian decent. Yet, the H1B's are getting the jobs. The customers (employees of the contract issuers) are complaining bitterly about the poor service, and nothing changes.

      I'm missing something here. If it's money, where are they cutting costs?

      I have noticed that well over half of the recruiting companies I've had dealings with are Indian owned. It also seems that ALL of the IBM contract positions go through these Indian owned companies.

  • by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:48PM (#40157491) Homepage

    To be clear: we're not struggling to find *people*, we're struggling to find *talent*.

  • Two part problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:50PM (#40157525) Homepage Journal

    1. Americans bailed on the sector when the first big bump in 1998-2000. This left a gap that new trainees never really came in to fill.
    2. H1Bs go home. This means the insane over-recruitment of H1B employees had a cost at the end of their terms.
    3. There has been, up until 2008, and attitude in the U.S. that any college degree is good enough. My state only graduated 40,000 people from community colleges/trade schools this year. Everyone with higher aspirations just went to a 4 year school. To do less is to view oneself as a failure(and employers do too).
    4. Combine that with a culture with a slight distaste for mathematics and science and that's more than enough basic features to explain a discrepancy of this level.

    • You left out low salaries. It amazes me how little companies are paying their IT workers, while simultaneously complaining about the lack of competent IT staff and the risk of a low-paid tech guy leaking their trade secrets.
    • Look on the bright side, now fry cooks and sign-twirlers feel like they're really earning a 'competitive wage'.

  • Basic economics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by beamin ( 23709 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:51PM (#40157537)

    They just need to up their offer. Go invisible hand!

  • by spagthorpe ( 111133 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:51PM (#40157541)

    If the salaries for those positions were acceptable to the people with those skills, they would have no problem filling the positions.

    I get weekly emails from companies wanting me to do contract work, all senior engineer level work, as a contractor (no benefits, 1099 work), and the hourly rate is pathetic. Then they cry about not being able to hire engineers, and how we need to outsource/bring in H1Bs. Let them struggle.

    • I am a sysadmin and I get contract to hire stuff all the time. Problem is I am currently full time contract and I have full benefits. Now TELL me why I want to leave for your pathetic 2 year contract?

      Offer me:

      1. More than I make now.
      2. Permanent...with bennies.
      3. Better working conditions (competent project management and not constantly being asked to perform a miracle in a week).

      Then....ONLY then will I consider even applying for the position.

      Another mistake they make is asking for God like qualities in a technical position. Qualities like:

      1. 10 years experience in a tech that has only existed for 5.
      2. 365/7/24 On call (Bullshit)
      3. That you can be a DBA, Sysadmin, Project Manager and chief cook and bottle washer.

      I've seen that in MANY postings and it's impossible to fill because they ask the world and expect to pay for the city. That doesn't jibe.

    • by Maximum Prophet ( 716608 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:20PM (#40158023)
      What's your standard reply? I like $400/hour, 4 hour minimum + expenses, but that might be too low for you.

      My dad worked for the government for years. One of his buddies was talking to a recruiter, when the recruiter asked, "What will it take for you to come work for us." The guy answered something like 3x his current salary. Later the guy came back with "How about 2.8x salary?". He took the job.

      Always have an absurdly high number available. If the fish bite, reel them in.
  • by johnb10001 ( 604626 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:51PM (#40157543)
    people that can write a job description and match job seekers to the jobs.
  • I could see it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:54PM (#40157581)

    To do well in IT you just have to have a certain problem solving ability. I don't think it is something that can be taught, or at least I can't tell you how to teach it. It isn't about knowing a lot about computers, it is about being able to process novel problems and find solutions to them, expediently preferably.

    That's what we look for when we hire students (I do IT work for a university). Finding students with experience is hard since, well, they are students of course they don't have experience and that aside the kind of things we do, almost nobody has experience with. That's ok, what we are really after is someone who is good with problem solving, particularly the kind of problem solving you need for computers.

    I've encountered more than a few people who are not very qualified/competent in IT. We've hired a few people since I've worked here and I've sat on their hiring board (the IT manager, my boss, usually has 4 other technical people with him on the board for interviews). The only people in interviews already made it past HR's resume filtering, and then were the best resume's from the bunch we got. Still, many have been totally unqualified and it becomes readily apparent in the interview process.

  • No, really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:56PM (#40157613) Homepage

    As someone who recently sought to fill one of those openings, I have some advice for companies looking to hire: Let your existing IT people write the job listing. A disturbing number of the listings I came across were ridiculous.

    5 years experience required, for an entry-level position at $25,000 salary with weekends on-call? Nope. I might be unemployed, but I don't want to lose money on a job.

    Looking for someone A+-certified with mainframe maintenance and 15 years of Java programming experience? I'm close to qualified, but now I'm scared.

    Five programming tests and two phone interviews, and the face-to-face interviewer doesn't even get my name even close to right? I don't think the epitome of "faceless corporation" is the right fit...

    Look, I understand that there are lots of IT folks out of work, and you think that if you ask for the world, you'll get it from them. You might meet some success, but is stripping your employees of dignity really the right way to get a productive workforce?

  • The usual Propaganda (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:58PM (#40157643)
    Actually, there are plenty of people to fill these jobs. They're just Americans, who apparently aren't worth hiring, and obviously have no political voice or politicians would be courting them. They're not, which tells you what side their bread is buttered - corporate interests. The last 30 hires I've seen go by at my company are all from India and China. One in my group is an "intern". Actually, the person graduated and was offered a regular job, but had visa problems - stupid H1B limits, the person says indignantly. So rather than hire an American, they just brought the person in as an intern. There are no "critical" skills. This is just a recent college graduate. Nothing special or high-skill. No relevant training, just a smart kid like all the others. There's a critical mass now, and a definite descrimination bias against Americans. It's actually a fascinating turnaround from the old America, when it was impossible for immigrants to find work. Unfortunately for our politicians, those people can't vote, because they're not citizens. That said, American tech workers have been sold out by both sides of the aisle for corporate money. Every single person in my team is from another country. And all will likely go back home when their visas run out, to work in the Bangalore or Shanghai offices at the same job.
  • Bullshit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @01:58PM (#40157651) Journal

    This is the same whining we hear year after year. It's been going on since at least the early 90s, if not earlier. With few exceptions, there are people out there willing to fill these jobs but employers are unwilling to hire them because (jumping on the bandwagon here) they don't want to pay these technical people what they are worth and will not accept anyone who does not meet the exact, cross the T, dot the I experience they think they want.

    Employers have essentially pawned off all training on schools, completely unwilling to offer even the barest training to bring people up to speed. They now expect you to know the intricate details of their organization even though you have never worked for them before.

    Employers have brought this upon themselves and are now acting like spoiled 2 year olds, stomping their feet and holding their breath until they get their way.

    You want to know how to fill these positions? REDUCE the number of H1B visas and force employers to hire those unemployed IT folks who have applied for these positions but were rejected because they didn't fit the bill 100%.

    When I see the same job postings from the same employers month after month, entry to mid-level jobs, not the high-end, ultra technical positions which legitimately could have a shortage of workers, there are only two conclusions to reach: either no one is applying for the positions (for whatever reason), or employers are rejecting everyone because their standards are too high (and their heads are too high up their asses to figure it out).

  • Bullshit! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:00PM (#40157689)

    The problem is that all these employers are looking for $10,000 Ferraris and bitching because they can't fill the niche. That way they can go out and cry to the Labor Department for an H1-B so they can get somebody on the cheap.

    It's not that the IT folks are asking for big money, but a decent living wage and employers are tempted with the H1-B rules to go out and leverage the crap out of them. Also there is a trend, in general, to have requirements so specific that the HR folks or the dreaded Taleo bullshit will filter out candidates who meet 70 to 80 percent of the requirements. I realize that's the situation we've been in for years but for all these employers who are crying I say that there are people out there who can work for them if 1) They're willing to pay at least the market rate for some of these positions rather than trying to drive the prices into the dirt and 2) Taking a look at their requirements and matching their candidates objectively, not allowing some fucking acronym matcher determine if a person is suitable or not for a job. Yeah, I know
    maybe that's too much to ask but considering that the information is coming from an HR temp staffing firm, which is another big, big problem with the IT industry but that's another kettle of fish.

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:01PM (#40157707)

    Companies (and HR departments in particular) are bad at hiring someone to grow into a job. They want someone who is in the top 20% of their profession and can do the entire job starting right away, but then they base their pay scales on the 50th percentile.

    Headhunters also do a bad job, at a high price.

    If there were people who could actually be trusted to do a good job at filling positions, lots of people would benefit.

  • 3 reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:02PM (#40157731) Homepage

    The original article listed the 3 reasons the slots were hard to fill, "including lack of available applicants, applicants looking for more pay and lack of experience"

    So in other words employers who don't recruit, don't pay much and aren't willing to train are having trouble. Well good.

  • by undeadbill ( 2490070 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:05PM (#40157769)

    Management are finally discovering what experienced IT staffers have been warning them about for years- failure to invest in training and mentoring entry-level staff will result in shortages over all levels of skill in the future.

    Skilled staff are not a commodity. They are not widgets that can be easily replaced. Moreover, the attrition rate for the IT field is high- I am one of 4 people I know among my extended group of friends with more than 20 years in the business who are still working as non-management. Everyone else has either changed professions to something else, or is in management.

    The unemployment rate for IT staff in my region is less than 3%. I stopped trying to get requisitions for new staff to train up years ago when I realized that until their pants are on fire, management at most companies simply won't understand that it can take three to five years to train up a good IT staffer, provided the will and funding are there to do it. So, this new "news" is not a surprise to me, and I've taken a more laid back approach as I've realized that there isn't any purpose to changing some peoples' minds about the growing staff shortage. As of now, I'm enjoying the ride, letting people call me and determining where I'm going to have to argue least about pay.

  • Ageism (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:06PM (#40157789)

    Don't forget the ageism thing. Shocked no one mentioned this.

    Must have 25 years Java experience... and the unwritten rule is be under 30.

    Sometimes ageism shows up in ridiculous combos, where the only way to get that combo is to already have that specific position, or be about 60.. and they only hire kids under 30.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:07PM (#40157809)

    What if drivers were hired like software developers?

    Job title: car driver

    Job requirements: professional skills in driving normal- and heavy-freight cars, buses and trucks, trolley buses, trams, subways, tractors, shovel diggers, contemporary light and heavy tanks currently in use by NATO countries.

    Skills in rally and extreme driving are obligatory!
    Formula-1 driving experience is a plus.

    Knowledge and experience in repairing of piston and rotor/Wankel engines, automatic and manual transmissions, ignition systems, board computer, ABS, ABD, GPS and car-audio systems by world-known manufacturers - obligatory!

    Experience with car-painting and tinsmith tasks is a plus.

    The applicants must have certificates by BMW, General Motors and Bosch, but not older than two years.

    Compensation: $15-$20/hour, depends on the interview result.

    Education requirements: Bachelor's Degree of Engineering.

  • by Rtarara ( 1806850 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:11PM (#40157883)
    Seeking qualified IT person. Requirements:

    10 years C++
    5-7 years Java
    5-7 years HTML and CSS
    2-3 years SQL
    2-3 years Ruby
    1 year JQuery
    1 year COBOL
    Familiarity with VHDL
    Must be a Team Player
    Must be willing to work 60 hours per week
    Must know ballroom dancing
    Must speak sloth

    Salary 40,000 per year

    I have no idea why they are having difficulties....

  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:16PM (#40157957)

    First of all, 1,300 employers Doesn't seem like that is an accurate representation of 49% of the entire US IT workspace. I wonder who funded the study, Koch Bros?

    FTFA: "Forty-nine percent of US companies are having a hard time filling what workforce... The group surveyed some 1,300 employers" um, wtf?

    What's more:
    The Skilled Trades left the workforce when the USA shipped all of it's manufacturing tooling processes overseas in the mid 90s. The Engineers and Machinists had to find other ways to make a living. I'm not surprised you cannot find anyone to do it now.

    IT Staff, Secretaries, Sales and Accounting were some of the first jobs to be cut following the housing/banking crash in mid/late 2000's.

    Teachers rely pretty heavily on Unions to make their jobs worth the pay. No, I don't mean the Scott Walker 6-figure income district vice-superintendent pencil pusher, I mean the first grade teacher making $40k/year with a class of 20 kids. Tea Party is putting an end to the unions, so don't count on good teachers being available any time soon.

  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:19PM (#40158019) Homepage

    "IT Positiions Some of the Toughest Job to Underpay People in US"

    or maybe

    "Companies over specify jobs, find no one matches."

  • by think_nix ( 1467471 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:27PM (#40158121)

    Well America. Maybe if you pay your "IT experts" decent wages and offer them decent benefits like the rest of the world does people would be willing to work there.

    Recently I had an offer at a very well known vendor in the US. With 12 years working experience plus a few important industry certifications under my belt I felt I would get a decent offer. They (HR at this company, I felt like I was talking to a wall) wanted to offer me coming from Europe, 55k USD/salary yearly, 10 days vacation a year, some crappy health insurance plan, no relocation, no yearly bonus, no overtime pay.

    I told them what I make here in Europe plus benefits and the HR lady almost fell out of her chair. "Saying we cant do that." Career wise would have been an excellent opportunity. Although, the pay and benefits would have been a step back into the dark ages. I told them thanks for the offer but no thanks.

  • by xanthos ( 73578 ) <> on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:42PM (#40158317)

    American businesses cannot find the people they need because they have stopped looking. As has been mentioned here before, many HR departments are now dependant on robo analysis of electronicly submitted resumes to do their inital vetting. If you don't meet the robo criteria you don't get past square one. This results in many qualified candidates being passed over and under qualified candidates getting through because they know how to game the system.

    I have personally seen several examples of both. In one instance the guy filled out an online resume form (you were not allowed to just upload your pdf), hit enter, and within a minute got a reply email saying "Thank you for applying, but after careful consideration we have determined that you are not qualified for the position." Careful consideration? Hardly. Needless to say his opinion of this particular company is less than what it was before he applied.

    In another example, a guy who could not get past HR finally had a friend hand deliver his resume to the manager who was hiring. HR was furious for being bypassed, but the guy got the job.

    Finally, a good friend of mine was pulling her hair out trying to find a good sqlserver admin. It seems that the only candidates that HR passed on to her happened to come from the same contracting company, with almost identical resumes, and all admitted in the interviews that they were actually programmers, but the consulting company thought they could do the job and had "tweaked" the resumes to make them look competent.

    Companies that take shortcuts in the hiring process will pay for it in the end. A good HR department has to be willing to put in the effort to find good candidates.

    Cheap, fast or good. Pick two.


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