Skills shortages have been a continual challenge in the IT industry, making it difficult to find qualified candidates for technical jobs, even during economic slowdowns. Now that the economy has recovered and unemployment is less of an issue, recruitment is even harder.
For MSPs, it can take months or years to fill vacant positions, especially in urban areas where competition is fierce. And in remote locations, it’s also hard to attract talent when young workers would rather be in a city environment.
A shortage of 1.8 million jobs in the US is predicted come 2022 because demand is soaring thanks to the relentless expansion of cyberthreats. Qualified candidates get scarcer by the day as companies try to snap them up with high compensation packages and perks.
So what can managed service providers (MSPs) with moderate resources do to attract talent? Here are a few ideas:
A common mistake among technology employers is to expect recruits to come in with all the prerequisite skills and certifications. Realistically, you’re not going to find candidates that fit the exact mold you have in mind. So be ready to help them develop through mentorship and training. If you show recruits you’re willing to invest in them, they are more likely to want to work with you.
A successful recruiting program is an ongoing endeavor, which means you should build up a list of resumes and profiles over time. If you only think about recruitment when you have a vacancy, that’s already too late. Check in periodically with jobseekers you didn’t hire previously and keep up with their progress. One of them could be your next employee.
Women and millennials are underrepresented in a lot of technical professions. Make an effort to target this untapped talent pool by assuring them they will be valued employees who will have a say in company decisions and direction. If you already have women and millennials on staff, get them involved in the hiring process to help you attract talent. Remember, a diverse staff fosters innovation and success.
Today’s professionals, especially those in the millennial generation, want to be part of something meaningful. Compensation isn’t enough to attract them, so you need to lay out the company vision to job candidates and explain how they would become an integral part of putting it into practice. The more you share with them about company goals and practices, the more you’re likely to succeed in attracting them.
Whether it’s compensation packages, work hours or time off, employers today have to be flexible and creative—within reason. Wherever you can make a concession that won’t interfere with the company’s operation and goals, why not? Be open to ideas such as flexible work hours and telecommuting, and engage in regular conversations with your employees regarding their preferences. If you get it right, you’re bound to collect dividends from a dynamic, creative, productive staff.
The IT talent shortage is likely to persist for years to come. The only way to beat it is to have a well-developed recruitment and hiring strategy in place. Make these five ideas part of that strategy.
Pedro Pereira is a Massachusetts-based writer who has covered the IT channel for two decades. Recognized as one of the first journalists to cover managed services, Pedro continues to track, analyze and report on the IT channel and the growing MSP partner community.
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