Employers need vision to see IT talent

By Kate Southam

Good old fashion self promotion is a must for IT talent that have the runs on the board but not the job title to match.
That is the advice from Ambition Technology managing director Andrew Cross.

Mr Cross told CareerOne.com.au that employers were too focused on job titles instead of looking at whether a candidate had the right skills and experience to fill a role. As a result, the IT talent market had seen a “skills misunderstanding” rather than a skills shortage in many cases. Jobs remain unfilled despite interest from qualified candidates because the definition of a right fit is too narrow. People more than capable of stepping up into roles such as Project Manager or Project Director and others are being overlooked for want of a title.

Mr Cross has made presentations to alert employers to the fact they are missing out on good people with the right mix of skills and experience and he has personally advocated for individual candidates when speaking to employers.

He says employers might nod in agreement but then continue on looking for the perfect fit. Sometimes it is a matter of the employer not having sufficient knowledge of an IT role to properly evaluate the skills and experience a candidate offers.

In other cases, job roles are just too new to have a deep talent pool with the right titles.  For example, “Big Data Analysts” and “Cloud Architects” have only been around for about two years.

He says employers need to consider the cost of bringing in a strong candidate who needs some training versus a perfect candidate in short supply and already in work.

“In the past couple of years employers wanting to employ developers, project managers, business analysts are so skittish and risk adverse they only want someone who can come in an add value from day one.

“If you ask me for a shopping list containing 20 requirements, I will tell you that there are only 10 people that exist and another 90 people who have most of the skills and the capacity to learn.”

Mr Cross will then show the cost of recruiting someone from the list of 10 versus the lower cost of recruiting and training someone from the list of 90 people.  On top of that, he points out that the perfect match candidate is not necessarily the best cultural fit or the most productive. He learnt early in his recruitment career about the value of hiring aspirational people.

Too often clients still insist on the perfect match. All this means those with the right skills but wrong title need to do more self-promotion and personal brand building.

“Repackaging a resume is probably not going to do it. Candidates have to find other ways to engage with an employer such as by creating a blog or by contributing to relevant [online] forums.”
“We are asking IT people to be a lot more proactive in self-promotion and in building their personal brand awareness.
An example might be the blog from a few years back susanhiresaboss.com  The fun blog showcased the skills of the candidate and garnered her lots of attention and buzz and presumably a job.
“Once [candidates] get to a job interview they can speak of their similar experiences but it is getting to that interview that is the challenge.”

Mr Cross was speaking to CareerOne.com.au after the release of the latest Ambition Market Trends Report.
Other highlights from the Ambition Market Trends Report for 2012 include:

–    Skills in demand include cloud solution architects, big data analysts and mobility specialists.
–    That junior java developers and graduates with one or two years of commercial experience.
–    Graduates coming to market currently appear to be focusing on .Net and front end development rather than Java.
–    An over supply of senior java developers exists.
–    The market is showing little salary growth and even salary flat lining for many roles.
–    Top ten IT jobs today are different from top ten of a decade ago.
–    According to global research company Gartner, technology jobs should continue to grow this year but probably at a slower pace     than 2011.
–    Redundancy has occurred particularly in the finance sector where jobs have gone off shore and there is minimal development     work going on in the sector.
–       Good level of development work going on in media and tech businesses.
–       User Interface (UI) and front-end development requirements for both contract and perm resources are steady.

To read more detail include trends per state go to:

CareerOne.com.au, March 2012

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