An article on the trends, challenges, and advantages to the IT Staffing world
Simply put, IT spending is big business. By the end of 2012, Forrester Research predicts that global spending on IT services will hit 3.8 trillion, with projected growth rates of 7.5% in 2012 and 8.3% in 2013 for business and government purchases of information technology goods and services1.
Domestically, IT spending is following this “trend to spend.” According to Gartner Research, 350 U.S. firms indicated that each plans to invest more than $1 billion in IT during 2012 to improve business performance.2 Fueling this spending is the move to the “big 4” today: cloud, mobile, social and data analytics.
Even in the current cautious economic environment, companies are choosing to continue to invest in upgrading existing IT systems and infrastructure, and developing new systems, in order to stay competitive. And with new technologies being used to support business processes via virtual and social platforms, IT staff are being asked to design and develop new applications that will fulfill CIO and management directives to improve consumer interactivity online.
These directives are driven by the desire to offer services and marketing on the platforms that consumers prefer, to automate services in order to reduce labor costs, and to better analyze online consumer behaviors for improved marketing performance.
IT Industry Growth Trends: Mobile, Cloud and Analytics
Figure 1:Mobile Growth Trends. Source: IBM Survey
Mobile growth – and the resulting need for developers in this area – is anticipated to rise rapidly between 2012 and 2015 (see figure 1). During early 2012, cellphone adoption rates worldwide were at 5.9 billion users. By 2015, Gartner predicts that 1 billion smartphones will be sold3. Healthcare, with its increasing use of mHealth (mobile) technologies, also requires developers who can create healthcare applications for mobile platforms.
Android is anticipated to be the leading platform worldwide, followed by iOS4.
The move to the cloud is also occurring at a rapid pace. Nearly 75% of IT CIOs surveyed recently noted that they plan to move applications to a virtual, thin client platform over the next two years5.
Analytics will also become a heavy user of IT services, according to IBM. They predict that analytics will be increasingly used by education, healthcare, aerospace/defense, computer software and life sciences industries, with open source Apache Hadoop and Linux the anticipated platforms for a significant amount of this development6.
Other “big ticket” items for IT managers in the near future include Improving storage, servers and network security.
In addition to the move to mobile, healthcare will have additional l IT staffing demands in order to implement ICD-10 and electronic health records. The financial industry is also a heavy utilizer of IT staff, due to the desire to move within this industry to mobile platforms.
School districts are moving to cloud computing and online collaborative learning environments. IT departments in smaller districts often rely upon staffing by an outside agency or consulting company to supplement their in-house staff and provide the expertise required.
The conclusion? In spite of cautionary departmental budgets, there is a growing demand for IT services, especially in specific areas. The demand for specialized skills, such as social media and mobile development, is actually currently greater than the supply of top talent.
Factors Impacting IT Industry Employment Trends
In general, IT firms are spending on important updates and technologies, while trying to keep staffing levels flat – or even reduced – in order to keep costs down. Layoffs at industry giants Cisco and at IBM, and the anticipated ones at HP have created a cautionary outlook within the industry. Instead of hiring more staff, IT departments are turning to supplemental staffing through an agency or a consulting firm in increasing numbers, to a degree that experts predict that IT temporary staffing usage will rise by 12% between 2012 and 20137.
While offshoring and automation have impacted staffing in areas that require lower levels of skill, higher-level jobs are still in heavy demand, including information systems, database admin, systems analysis, and network and data communication analysts. Meanwhile, countries outsourced to are charging higher prices for work, causing some jobs that were former offshored to start coming back to the United States.
The requirements for IT staff have not gone down; companies are simply choosing to change how they fill the need. This includes moving from hiring fulltime staff to utilizing temporary or consulting agencies to fill staffing needs.
Meeting the Need: IT Skills Most in Demand
The greatest demand for IT staff at this time is in the areas of project management, analytics, and developers who can help IT departments meet enterprise mobile, social networking and data center/warehousing requirements.
Currently, the greatest demand for IT staff is in the areas of:
- Mobile app developers
- Data warehouse analysts
- User experience product designers
- Virtualization/Cloud computing (SaaS, IaaS, Paas)
- Collaboration workflow
- Computer systems manufacturers
- Social media/Internet
Below are several charts from Indeed.com, a large online job site, showing IT job posting trends over the past several years for HTML 5, Mobile App, and Social Media. These graphs reveal the exponential increase in the demand for skilled staffs in these technology arenas.
Locations Where the Demand for IT Professionals is Greatest
Below is a list, in descending order, of the top geographical areas where IT talent is hired.
1. San Francisco Bay area
2. New York (due to startups fueled by available venture capital)
Recruiting is conducted at some of the top techie colleges in the nation (such as Harvard, M.I.T., Stanford and U.C. Berkley), as well as via social media and industry contacts.
IT Staffing Challenge: The Competition for Talent
There is an overall strong industry competition for IT talent in the areas described above. This competition is fueled in part by talented IT professionals at larger firms choosing to go with startups or smaller firms in order to gain decision-making or partnership roles. Firms such as Google and Facebook have paid dearly to retain their best IT professionals, with extremely high salaries and bonus packages.
Another factor in recruiting and retaining IT staff is the diversification of larger technology companies. In the midst of layoffs, for example, larger companies are still looking for top talent to help their movement into new areas.
While most firms won’t pay millions like Google to retain a top engineer, the outlook for the U.S. workforce in general is looking much brighter. A recent Mercer compensation survey of U.S. employers found that most plan to increase salaries in 2012, with the average increase in base pay expected to be 2.8%. Half of the businesses surveyed stated that they plan to increase salaries significantly (by 4.8%, on average) to keep top talent8.
One growing trend in the recruitment of talented IT staff is the move from more traditional methods to using social media and online networking (think “Twitter” and “LinkedIn”, along with Facebook) to find talent. Recruiting via mobile platforms is also increasing.
Even with high unemployment rates, firms must still search hard for qualified candidates, since these individuals are often the ones who are still working. The recession has made it more important than ever to carefully screen candidates, and assure that candidates applying are actually qualified for positions. This is one reason that larger firms, such as Fortune 500 companies, will turn to a consulting company or staffing agency to supplement their staff. It makes economic sense in an industry where the push is to develop business applications for new platforms in order to remain competitive, while simultaneously keep IT departmental costs down.
Advantages of recruiting by using a consultancy
With the push to reduce costs, IT departments are hesitating to hire full time IT staff, who require health insurance, benefits, severance pay and other costs. Instead, outsourcing to fill in staff through a consultancy is an option that a growing number of businesses are choosing.
For smaller firms, this allows them to develop and provide the services that their in-house team is either unable to do, or when they require supplemental, experienced IT professionals to help them through mission-critical times, or during system upgrades.
Larger firms often choose to source through a consulting firm to provide additional staff for specialized projects, or when they have difficulty recruiting full-time staff with the skills they require (such as agile project management skills). Often, the in-house IT staff focuses on core processes, while the consulting staff provides specialized services, whether as individuals or in a team framework.
Choosing to supplement staff through consultants can allow more rapid completion of projects that require specialized technical expertise or project management skills. It allows more options regarding the technologies and platforms developed or managed, and the ability to use internal resources more efficiently, to focus on core processes for improved productivity.
Gaining access to experienced professionals with desirable skills is the number one benefit for firms that source through a consulting firm.
Another advantage to firms hiring from an IT consulting firm is the profile of those who choose to become consultants. Often, professionals who are excellent in their field, with years of experience and proven performance records, are the ones drawn to becoming a consultant. They are drawn by the relative freedom of consulting, as well as salary incentives, especially for high-demand skills. Because of the greater mobility of consulting, IT consultants can choose to work in the areas they have greatest expertise in, and where their skills are most valued.
They enjoy the flexibility of having the option to move once the project is completed, and the company benefits from not needing to pay high salaries or exceptional benefits in order to “retain” employees. Also, there is no severance package when the individual leaves. Instead, a firm can turn to IT consultants such as cPrime, who have a pool of screened, proven talent with pre-requisite training, to continue to meet their needs.
This results in a “win-win” situation for both the client business, and the individual with IT skills.
The cPrime Advantage
Exceptionally Qualified Candidates
cPrime is extremely selective in the project management consultants and IT staff that we hire and source to our clients. This is one reason for our high reputation within the industry.
We take care of the recruiting for firms, through our extensive professional network. The best-qualified candidates are screened carefully through a series of comprehensive interviews, in order to identify the full scope of their talents and capabilities. We streamline the hiring process, reducing both cost and risk, taking on the burden of managing candidate accounting and finance responsibilities. Our account managers work seamlessly with internal hiring manager to ensure the best possible fit for an organization.
Areas we have expertise in staffing include:
- Project Managers
- Program Managers
- Business Analysts
- Scrum Masters
- Embedded Agile Coaches
Clients benefit from exceptional experience in our IT consultants. Our consultants have an average of 14 years of IT project management experience. They are able to come in and begin working right away, and can reduce overhead significantly. Firms can save on average $68,500, when working with cPrime to fill one position.
Before a cPrime consultant works for a firm, they have undergone extensive interviewing and skills assessment to ensure that they have not only the required technology skills, but the ability to work as a “team player” and fit in well with the project and organizational culture.
Often, our consultants become “long-term” with clients, because they view their work as an important part of their career development, and adapt extremely well to the client’s environment and project pace and demands. This is one reason for our outstanding record of client satisfaction. While we can, and do, staff contract for shorter term projects, our consultants often develop a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with the clients they work for.
We also provide recruiting for full-time employment for our clients, who appreciate our extensive industry network of contacts, reputation for excellence, and ability to attract exceptional talent for them.
Specialized Expertise in Agile
The move to agile has driven the need for top talent in Project managers, Scrum masters, agile coaches and Scrum Product owners. cPrime is able to provide qualified staff in these areas due to the fact that this is our specialty. As a project management and agile services firm, we have an in-depth industry knowledge of what this field requires. When a client comes to us, our recruiters and account managers have the experience in this area to identify and screen individuals, and assess whether they have the skills that a client is looking for.
Human resources departments at client firms often depend upon this expertise in agile when they search for staff with Scrum and agile skills. Our agile coaches have the years of agile project management expertise needed to find the right people for their teams – and to ensure that they will be able to meet the pace and demand of the client environment.
Our consultants are committed to constantly improving and developing their talents. If a project requires specialized extra training to fulfill specific requirements, we can provide it, or work out a mutually agreed upon plan to ensure that you get the tools, capabilities and expertise you need to guarantee success.
At cPrime, our consultants are employed by our firm, but perform work on-site for the client firm, normally reporting in each day for work. Project duration can vary, from weeks to months, or even longer. The benefit to the firm that uses one of our IT professionals is that cPrime pays the professional’s salary, benefits, and other expenses, such as training, as well as taxes and other paperwork. This offers a very cost-effective alternative to employing full-time staff.
cPrime can provide complete teams dedicated to working on a project, with exceptional training and skills in technologies and methodologies that allow rapid, quality development and superior project management. We have the depth to meet a firm’s requirements for projects of any size.
Learn more about cPrime’s IT Staffing services.
In today’s environment where specialized IT skills are in high demand, concurrent with the need to keep departmental costs down, working with cPrime offers an alternative to hiring full-time staff. It allows IT departments to meet their goals for production, using highly qualified individuals, in a cost-effective manner.
- Bartels, Andrew. Forrester Research report analysis, “US Tech Market Outlook Improves For 2012 And 2013.”
- Whitney, Lance. “Gartner lowers global IT spending forecast for 2012.” CNET news article online at http://news.cnet.com/8301-1001_3-57352817-92/gartner-lowers-global-it-spending-forecast-for-2012/
- Gartner Research press release. “Gartner Says Worldwide Enterprise IT Spending to Reach $2.7 Trillion in 2012.” 10/17/2011. Online at http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1824919.
- IT Spending Staffing and Spending Benchmarks, 2011-21012; Executive Summary, by Computer Economics © 2011
- IBM Corporation: The 2011 IBM Tech Trends Report. Online at IBM developer at www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/files/app/file/110ccd08-25d9-4932-9bcc-c583868c9f31?lang=en
- Harris Interactive IT Employment Report Q1 2012 by Technisource and Randstad.
- Mercer Report “Compensation Planning 2012: A Review of Today’s Hot Issues and Strategies for the Future.”
- IT Spending Staffing and Spending Benchmarks, 2011-21012; Executive Summary, by Computer Economics © 2011