High Tech Worker Shortage: Has Anything Changed?
Senior Editor, CNBC
s decision to make Chicago its headquarters, says Irvine, in order to avoid the usual high tech regions like Silicon Valley — and have access to a broader workforce.
Another small firm, Cleversafe, which provides data storage, did the same, says CEO and founder Chris Gladwin. And that's paid off when it comes to hiring.
"We wanted to locate outside of traditional talent clusters but close to academia," says Gladwin. "We have great relationships with local Chicago colleges and universities and established a strong culture of innovation. When you do that, the talent pours in."
For those firms losing out in the talent search, one analyst says the problem is not so much a shortage of workers but how they and prospective hires are connecting.
"Workers and employers are surprisingly having trouble finding each other in this high tech age," says Bala Iyer, a professor of information technology management at Babson College.
"Companies are looking for employees using traditional methods, and it's not working. Employers should be scouring digital communities and new markets for people," says Iyer.
Even if they do make the right kind of hook-up, many tech firms have to slug it out against their more glamorous colleagues for new hires, says Larry Scinto, IT strategy specialist at PA Consulting group.
"The best and brightest are going to the Facebooks and other start-ups where they have a shot at becoming millionaires," Scinto adds. "Going to a traditional tech firm may seem boring and could mean a short career and eventually being outsourced."
It's estimated that by 2018, there will be some 1.4 million tech-related job openings in the U.S., but the country will have only about 400,000 college grads to fill them.
If that equation seems one-sided now, the shortage of high tech workers, for whatever reason, will just keep getting worse, says Alex Camino, vice president of marketing and communications at Softtek, an IT solutions firm.
"Almost every industry is being transformed by technology," Camino says. "Banking is online, smartphones are replacing cameras. Music, publishing are online. Television is high tech. You name it, and IT has to be part of a company's strategy. So when it comes to workers, demand just keeps outpacing supply."