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IT Labor Shortage Is Just a Myth

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the also-roswell-and-jfk-and-high-fructose-corn-syrup dept.

The Media 619

buzzardsbay writes "For the past few years, we've heard a number of analysts and high-profile IT industry executives, Bill Gates and Craig Barrett among them, promoting the idea that there's an ever-present shortage of skilled IT workers to fill the industry's demand. But now there's growing evidence suggesting the "shortage" is simply a self-serving myth. "It seems like every three years you've got one group or another saying, the world is going to come to an end there is going to be a shortage and so on," says Vivek Wadhwa, a professor for Duke University's Master of Engineering Management Program and a former technology CEO himself. "This whole concept of shortages is bogus, it shows a lack of understanding of the labor pool in the USA.""

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619 comments

Got a labor shortage? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702382)

Raise your wages, the workers will come.

The market will fix the problem. No need for special legislation or guest workers.

No myth here (5, Interesting)

jay-za (893059) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702388)

I can't speak for the US, but I can state that in South Africa we have a fair number of IT workers, a handful of which are actually worth anything, but on the whole not a shortage. The area of the market that DOES have a shortage, however, and a really massive one at that, is the Tester and Test Analyst side. We are struggling to get even halfway decent people.

And even with this shortage, the IT academies and schools out there are churning out MCSE's by the truckfull - rather than getting useful skills, they are giving some poor schmuck a certification that means really little in the real world, and which doesn't really have a descent career path anymore..

Testers, on the other hand, have a great job, good money, and a really flexible career. They also develop a lot of really useful business skills to augment their technical skills, and have no problems finding work.

Re:No myth here (4, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702560)

And even with this shortage, the IT academies and schools out there are churning out MCSE's by the truckfull - rather than getting useful skills, they are giving some poor schmuck a certification that means really little in the real world, and which doesn't really have a descent career path anymore..


MCSEs represent something far worse than that. They represent a severe compartmentalization of skills. After twenty years in the IT profession, I'm pretty much going to be forced to take my MCSE mainly because you just can't get a job. For some reason, management believes that this frivolous piece of paper means that a guy is some sort of uber-tech. Well, I've seen these uber-techs melt when they had to deal with a Bind server, or anything particularly weird or challenging.

The real irony here is the most expertise I've seen out of the Microsoft side of things is the guys that can understand Redmond's insane licensing system.

Re:No myth here (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22703052)

dude, just put it on the resume. almost NO companies check.

Re:No myth here (5, Interesting)

TheRealFixer (552803) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703164)

The real irony here is the most expertise I've seen out of the Microsoft side of things is the guys that can understand Redmond's insane licensing system.

That's intentional. A good deal of MCSE training/testing has to do with licensing. MCSE's aren't intended to be technical geniuses. They're meant to be clones, indoctrinated to look at things the way Microsoft wants you to look at them. That's why the key to any Microsoft test, if you get stuck on a question that seems to have more than one correct answer, is to look at it from the perspective of what would make Microsoft the most money. That will almost always be the "right" one.

Not to say all MS training is bad. If you get a decent instructor who has experience with other vendors and solutions, who can cut through all the crap and extract the meat of what you actually need to know to succeed in the field, you can actually learn something useful. There's not many instructors like that, though.

Re:No myth here (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702684)

Man,how do I get to South Africa? Tester and other mid level tech wages here are in the toilet and they do not hire older workers. Won't even look at them! Maybe in SA they cannot afford to waste talent? Or do they have an immigration 'point system' like in Australia and NZ that treats people like used tires, measure them with a treadmeter graduated in how old they are; and if over 46 years old, bin them. Write to yakov1929 at hotmail. Have years of experience in testing, mostly military stuff.

Re:No myth here (2, Interesting)

Malevolent Tester (1201209) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702736)

Have you tried England? Every time I go on jobserve I see defence testing contracts in the UK for £300-£500 a day.($600 to $1000 in Monopoly money)

Re:No myth here (2, Funny)

LuisAnaya (865769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703036)

If things continue like this... Monopoly money will have more value than the Greenback :).

Re:No myth here (1)

LuisAnaya (865769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702996)

Testers have always been in great demand and low availability, the same happens in the US. However, on average, testers are usually paid less than an equivalent developer or system administrator. I remember seeing some statistics on that, but I just do not remember where from the top of my head and I might be dated.

The bottom line is that what you're seeing on tester shortage and MCSE sprouting like bunnies seems to be the case in other parts of the world.

Re:No myth here (5, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703014)

I can speak of my experience for the western US (but east of california) and say that it can sometimes take months to get a good candidate to apply. There are a lot of mediocre or bad programmers out there, most of them with degrees. I'm very suspicious of the claims in this report; they've looked at graduation rates (worthless, since most of the programmers I work with don't have a degree or have a degree in something other than CS) and they've asked HR about applications and overall satisfaction of the people that were hired. At the large shops I've worked at, there are a lot of mediocre programmers that aren't great, but they're good enough to not get fired. If you're someone like Google and you have stricter standards, I could easily see a shortage of good programmers.

So, to sum up, I see no shortage of programmers, just a shortage of good programmers.

Of course testers are well payed (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703026)

But who the hell would want to do that for a job? Honestly....

I found out our testers are payed on a par with or more than software developers the other day. At first I was a little angry, because I get angry whenever anyone is paid more than software developers because "we make your fscking products!".

Then I thought "What would it take to get me into that job?" and I realised they were welcome to the money.

Isn't it obvious? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702390)

There is a shortage of *cheap* IT labor...

Re:Isn't it obvious? (5, Insightful)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702506)

Bingo. They don't want the guys who want 95-120k a year, they want to guys who'll be happy with 25-35k a year and work 12 hour days.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (1)

barzok (26681) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702636)

I had an interview with someone like that once. He basically wanted me to do a job very similar to what I was doing elsewhere at the time, but take a 40% pay cut in the process. I wasted a whole afternoon (and wasted an hour of his day) because I wouldn't tell him what salary I wanted before he told me what the job was.

We got that part out of the way in the first 10 minutes of the interview because he wouldn't move on till I answered; he spent the next 45 telling me that he wanted someone right out of college, or possibly from overseas (but not interested in sponsoring an H1B visa due to cost), because he didn't want to spend much money.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (5, Insightful)

MrMarket (983874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703032)

MOD PARENT UP.

This is what we are facing in our organization. About 66% of our openings are technical, but our HR director is clueless -- not only in writing effective job descriptions and requirements, but also when it comes to setting compensation packages that attract good candidates. Our business analysts (which are a dime dozen) make as much or more than our application engineers.

It's almost a conspiracy: inability to hire good application engineers, limits our ability to automate business analytic processes, and increases the demand for spread sheet jockeys. Good times.

Self Serving (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702398)

No it doesn't. As the summary says, it's self serving. When you can bring in another 100k H1B's, it serves quite well.

Been perpetuating the myth since the 90's (2, Interesting)

boris111 (837756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702406)

I can't stand those ComputerTraining.com ads on the radio that reinforce this myth. Find me one person that has a starting salary of 70k from their program.

Re:Been perpetuating the myth since the 90's (3, Funny)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702974)

Heh, reminds me of a ITT Tech article on ED I just saw (Possibly NSFW):

http://www.encyclopediadramatica.com/ITT_Tech [encycloped...matica.com]

Is it a myth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702432)

I think that it is easy to find people that know some Windows, but that they are not very useful in more qualified areas. I don't know why, but they seem to depend on a manual to do anything, if there is no manual, they are lost.

TFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702436)

I don't understand the article, I can't find any ads and theirs only one page of text!

Help me!

Re:TFA (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702618)

1) resize your browser window to 200 pixels wide.
1a) For a more authentic experience, open any PCMagazine.com article in a second window and maximize it in the background
2) Instead of scrolling line-by-line, page down. Say "next" out loud each time you do so.
3) Enjoy your simulated "online magazine" article experience
4) ...
5) Profit...for someone

It's all the wording for HR (4, Insightful)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702442)

there's an ever-present shortage of skilled IT workers to fill the industry's demand
The key there is SKILLED. Most of the skilled IT people are already at work for a company or for themselves. What you have left in the pool is a bunch of low level first year grads who haven't seen the environments that these companies offer.

So, yes it's a myth that there are not enough people to fill IT positions, there are lots of code monkeys willing to pound keys for their banana but what are the skilled IT people that these larger companies are looking for out of the box and where will we find them right now?

Re:It's all the wording for HR (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702764)

Shrug. We've all been fresh out of school at some point...A lot of the time I'd rather have a recent grad who's willing to learn than a guy with 10 years experience who thinks he doesn't have to learn anymore.

I seriously get tired of people who expect high-end experts to explode out of the ground whenever they want one. Lot of the time you're going to have to settle for some people who are bright, young, and inexperienced. Mix them up with some more experienced workers, and they'll do okay.

Lot of people say, "I don't want to train someone, knowing that he's going to leave as soon as he gets a better offer." The English translation of that is: "I did this guy a favor by hiring him, and piling crap work on him, and I can't figure out why he'd be so disloyal." Make your company a good place to work, and you won't have such high turnover.

Re:It's all the wording for HR (1, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702948)

A lot of the time I'd rather have a recent grad who's willing to learn than a guy with 10 years experience who thinks he doesn't have to learn anymore.


How about someone who's been around for a while but does want to learn, who likes to learn new things, who wants to get their hands dirty and likes to solve problems? Would you hire someone like that?

From my anecdotal evidence (i.e. recent job interviews) if you show any inclination to work hard, learn new skills, go the extra mile to see that the job is done right, take initiative, you can be guaranteed not to get the job.

In my most recent interview I told the people interviewing me I work on the idea, "When I know, I'll tell you. When I don't, I'll find out."

I even had an interview for a job in which the description and what I am doing were virtually identical. The only real difference was that right now I'm not managing anyone though people who have been here since before I arrived come to me on occasion to answer questions from time to time (I've only been here 2 years).

So, based on my limited, highly subjective evidence, the way to get a job in IT or a promotion is to be mediocore at what you do, don't do any more than is absolutely necessary to get the job done, and make sure you can sell ice to the Eskimos in January. If you can master those three skills, you have it made.

Re:It's all the wording for HR (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22703104)

... is to be mediocore at what you do, ...

Especialy speling.

Re:It's all the wording for HR (1)

joecasanova (1253876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702814)

I completely agree with you. Great example follows: The company I work for has had an IT Help Desk Position open for nearly 3 years. We can't seem to find someone who has half a brain enough to perform the job. I don't understand what is so hard about it! I picked up the job, the network and desktop infrastructure, and all policies in about 2 weeks. Of the 14 people that have been in and out of the position that has been open for the past 3 years, I think the one that learned it the fastest took 5 weeks and that was just barely grasping what was going on.

Re:It's all the wording for HR (1)

sorak (246725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702942)

I completely agree with you. Great example follows:

The company I work for has had an IT Help Desk Position open for nearly 3 years. We can't seem to find someone who has half a brain enough to perform the job. I don't understand what is so hard about it!

I picked up the job, the network and desktop infrastructure, and all policies in about 2 weeks. Of the 14 people that have been in and out of the position that has been open for the past 3 years, I think the one that learned it the fastest took 5 weeks and that was just barely grasping what was going on.
Not to sound like a troll, but it sounds like you're blaming the suitable employee for not existing, when you may want to take a second look at what you're expecting from your employees.

Re:It's all the wording for HR (3, Funny)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702986)

I think a lot of people would rather gouge out their eyes with a spork than work helpdesk. The problem is, you're going to get people who want to work with people. I'm a reasonably social geek (how can you spot an extroverted geek? He looks at your shoes when he's talking to you) and people in the department live in fear of those rare times I have to interact with users. So the hardcore tech people are going to avoid the job; even if they're just benchtech types, there are a lot of better gigs.

Helpdesk is the worst too; users with stupid problems, who then blame you when you fix 'em. The temptation to put in snarky responses to tickets is overwhelming.

Re:It's all the wording for HR (2, Insightful)

openfrog (897716) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702898)

I don't understand your logic. The point of this well documented article is to show that self-interests are at work in those regular shortage claims and that this short-sighted behavior ends up hurting the industry and everyone working in it.

I actually don't believe that on Slashdot, people don't RTFA, but in any case, here is the conclusion of the article. Pretty strong and pretty damning IMHO.

In both cases these efforts have flooded the market with lower-cost foreign workers who are supplanting an already ample field of home-grown IT labor. The result is that the myth of an IT skills shortage could just end up be self-perpetuating.

"The trouble is that it creates a disincentive for Americans to study these technical fields," Wadhwa said. "We're hurting ourselves; computer science enrollment is dropping because the incentive is not there for students to study computer science."

Re:It's all the wording for HR (2, Insightful)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703056)

I don't understand your logic.
What's to misunderstand? When companies are looking for Mid to High level IT staffing and all they can find in the pool is low level that they'd have to train up or the mid level that doesn't quite work of course they're going to call shortage of skills. Find me a senior level Vax Admin in the midwest and you're going to be SOL but I assure you there are companies there that would use them.

Apprenticeships and lock-in (4, Insightful)

evilandi (2800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702928)

where will we find them right now

There's yer problem, right there, guv.

The problem is that the IT industry, like many industries, expects to find a pool of skilled and experienced available staff, at the drop of a hat, without the company putting in any effort themselves.

The solution is apprenticeships - a variant on "I wouldn't start from here", I admit, but the only workable solution nonetheless. Start the recruitment process two years in advance, and train up the monkeys to become experts. Another benefit is that apprenticeships, unlike university degrees, have no fixed syllabus and can quickly flex to meet new skill demand trends.

The problem with apprenticeships is that various governments have regulations against locking-in staff for long periods. Companies who invest in apprenticeships see their newly-trained staff bugger off to a better-paying competitor, who can afford to pay more since they haven't invested in apprenticeships, the moment they qualify. Governments need to relax regulations on locking-in apprentices to their sponsoring employer. Governments also need to give companies better ability to fire apprentices who fail to meet expected grades on time.

Cheap, experienced, immediately available - pick any two.

Re:It's all the wording for HR (4, Insightful)

wtansill (576643) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703028)

The key there is SKILLED. Most of the skilled IT people are already at work for a company or for themselves. What you have left in the pool is a bunch of low level first year grads who haven't seen the environments that these companies offer.
Which is why I walk around with my shorts in a knot most days.

Where do you get these "skilled" people? It takes years of experience. When companies say that they are "only outsourcing low-level jobs", I call bullshit -- they are, as the farmers say, eating their seed corn. If you don't take in new people and allow them to mature on the "low level" stuff, where the hell does management think that the highly skilled people will come from? You don't normally step out of school with 20 years seniority and experience already under your belt...

It's A Fact (5, Informative)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702446)

Over the course of last year I needed to hire 10 experienced J2EE developers. I literally interviewed hundreds, but was only able to find 6 suitable candidates. While it is true that there isn't a shortage of applicants, there is most certainly a shortage of people who can actually perform the advertised job.

Bob

Re:It's A Fact (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702554)

Over the course of last year I needed to hire 10 experienced J2EE developers. I literally interviewed hundreds, but was only able to find 6 suitable candidates. While it is true that there isn't a shortage of applicants, there is most certainly a shortage of people who can actually perform the advertised job.

Maybe you're setting the bar too high? You might have to train the people you need.

Re:It's A Fact (1)

CowboyBob500 (580695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702674)

In the end that's kind of the solution we went for. We took on 4 more junior level people to train up alongside a couple of contractors to keep the project going while the training was ongoing.

BTW, unlike some of the other posts have suggested, we were offering a highly competitive salary of £60,000 per year (~$120,000).

Bob

Re:It's A Fact (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703080)

Where, and for how much experience? For a senior J2EE developer doing original work, in New York City or Silicon Valley, I'd expect to pay $150,000 without major benefits or moving expenses. Were you in London, which I've heard is hideously expensive?

Re:It's A Fact (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702662)

You didn't ask for 5 years experience on a version that's only been out for three did you? Because if you did, the six "suitable candidates" are liars...

Re:It's A Fact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702678)

This is because companies these days hire new people instead of training those they have. They create the shortage themselves. If they invested in their own people, they would have a pool to pick from.

You can't only hire experienced people because the new people never get a chance to get any fucking experience. If you have 10 positions, hire the 6 experienced guys, and 4 that have a sound background and the ability to figure things out quickly. The 6 guys can serve as mentors for the other 4 guys if they need it.

Re:It's A Fact (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702790)

Over the course of last year I needed to hire 10 experienced J2EE developers. I literally interviewed hundreds, but was only able to find 6 suitable candidates. While it is true that there isn't a shortage of applicants, there is most certainly a shortage of people who can actually perform the advertised job.
And I think that is the crux of your problem, or the industry as a whole. Employers have gotten so reluctant to take a chance on someone without 5+ years experience that they would rather do without. In your case, why don't you take the excess budget you have from the four people you DIDN'T hire and use that money to hire 6-8 programmers with less experience, but who are eager to gain it? In two years, you will have 12-14 experienced programmers for the price of 10!

Take my case for example. I am married with a child and a mortgage. I NEED a certain amount of money to keep a roof over our heads, the lights on and feed my family. I can not take an entry level job. I have over 15 years experience on the tech support and testing side, plus a degree in IT and a Linux certification. Yet, because I do not have 5+ years in an actual IT department, I can not even get an interview unless it's for an entry level job paying at most $15/hr. Yet, I see job postings all over various job sites begging for experienced IT people. Is no one hiring mid-level technicians any more? Which begs the question: How is anyone supposed to get experience if the only people hiring require it?

Re:It's A Fact - NOT! (5, Insightful)

hax4bux (209237) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702802)

I am a "highly experienced J2EE person" and as a contractor I sit for interviews once a year or so.

I am not disagreeing w/your experience, simply because I wasn't there.

My point is most hiring managers don't know how to interview and frequently don't even know what skills are relevant.

My interviews routinely turn into some sort of geek dick size war (and the candidate must be polite) or a beauty pagent (where did you go to university, my professors are more glamorous than yours) or some other stupid diversion rather than the job at hand.

My least favorite is: are you kewl enough to work in our clubhouse? It's just a job, I get all the love I want at home.

It doesn't help that most jobs are using API's they barely understand. So when someone asks me an obscure question about XML bindings or hibernate, they frequently don't recognize the answer.

Anyway, I'm a little tired of hearing about "the shortage" when in fact there is none. The "shortage" (IMO) is manufactured.

Re:It's A Fact (2, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702892)

There could be many other reasons. Some are polite, some are not:

* Your company work environment could suck and frighten off people.
* You could be Microsoft or SCO, with a history of intellectual property deceit, and no one competent wants to work there.
* Your pay scale could be too low.
* Your location could be too far away from where such technical personnel like to live: this makes recruitying very hard.
* Your advertisement could have been poorly written.
* Your recruiters could have been one of those off-shore call cents.
* You could have failed to fund your staff publishing their tools or attending conferences and seminars, where they could network with their peers and make contacts for you.
* Your concept for J2EE could be so ill-conceived that no one competent wants their name on it.
* Your HR department could be so slow that any candidates disappear by the the time you're ready to interview them.
* You could be insisting on too much experience and not willing to pay for training.
Etc., etc., etc., etc.

I've seen all of these happen. A burgeoning number of out-of-work IT professionals would halp with these, but you can only unemploy or underemploy so many before the competent people go to other fields.

SHORTAGE (4, Interesting)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702452)

skilled IT

And I will second that, I am sure in other parts of the country, skilled IT are a dime a dozen. But where I am at (Midwest) actual skilled IT people are hard to find. Sure you can find the guy/girl who was promoted to IT from accounting back in the 90s but that doesn't make them a skilled pro. Show me a cross reference of IT folks who actually know what they are doing, have a passion for it, and I bet that subset is really small. I have no need for joe basement dweller who runs his guild website and knows how to install a video card. I also dont have any need for dilbert principle folks who are in waaaay over their heads and cannot configure a server without serious handholding or an in depth checklist.

Re:SHORTAGE (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702786)

I've 4 years in small business doing monkey work (tech support, some admin), and 2 years supporting a 1.5k user network with 9 servers including dedicated Exchange, proxy, and DHCP servers. I've experience with HP & Cisco managed switches, resolved some of the most horrible network issues you can think of (Ever seen what happens when a 12 year old little bastard plugs a patch lead into itself? Two words: CASCADING FAILURE.) I've even came up with an improved disaster recovery policy for my current employer, and been sub-contracted to another business based on performance.
 
I've no "theory of Computing - The Valve years" computing degree or MS "Our way or no way" brainwashing. I got a D in Computer Science at college. I work bottom-rung tech support changing print toners for a school because nobody wants an Sys or Network Admin without a degree.
 
THAT'S where your shortage is; managers who can look past the letters "BSc" after someone's name.

Re:SHORTAGE (2, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702952)

I've 4 years in small business doing monkey work (tech support, some admin), and 2 years supporting a 1.5k user network with 9 servers including dedicated Exchange, proxy, and DHCP servers. I've experience with HP & Cisco managed switches, resolved some of the most horrible network issues you can think of (Ever seen what happens when a 12 year old little bastard plugs a patch lead into itself? Two words: CASCADING FAILURE.) I've even came up with an improved disaster recovery policy for my current employer, and been sub-contracted to another business based on performance.

I've no "theory of Computing - The Valve years" computing degree or MS "Our way or no way" brainwashing. I got a D in Computer Science at college. I work bottom-rung tech support changing print toners for a school because nobody wants an Sys or Network Admin without a degree.

THAT'S where your shortage is; managers who can look past the letters "BSc" after someone's name.
Funny. I have a BSIT after my name and I'm sitting here doing technical support for banking software (ever see Office Space?). I can not get into an IT department because I've never worked in one (5+ years experience required), yet frequently, I find myself explaining to the IT guys at our corporate HQ that just because you can't ping a box, doesn't mean it's not running!

Re:SHORTAGE (1)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702978)

Show me a cross reference of IT folks who actually know what they are doing, have a passion for it, and I bet that subset is really small.
That's because what most IT people do at most companies is nothing to be passionate about, so once the 'I'm learning stuff' component is gone, you have people who know what they are doing but find it boring - because it is. Of course you may be lucky, for example by working as a network admin for a small company that let you do whatever you want as long as everything works smoothly, but that's quite exceptional.

That's why the best people go to companies where you can really be passionate about what you do. That's the way it is and that's the way it's always going to be (unless you have lots of money to throw to someone who might be overqualified for your needs anyway).

Key Word: Skilled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702454)

Seems even Bill knows there are a lot of paper MCSEs out there. Just because you hold a certification does not mean you are skilled.

RE: You mean worthy people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702466)

Shortage of people: NO, thanks to Computer Training dot com

Shortage of people who can think and fix efficiently: Yes.

There is absolutely a shortage of IT workers... (0, Troll)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702488)

who are willing to work for $20 an hour with a masters degree.

A real tech shortage. (1)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702490)

You know where there's a real shortage of technical people? Technicians in the industrial electromechanical field. Well, there are many such technicians, but I mean good ones. People who understand industrial control, who can diagnose and repair problems in a system composed of software, electronic, electrical, and mechanical components. This field requires extensive experience in all four areas, and people who can do a good job in this area are scarce to find, and hiring them is very expensive.

Re:A real tech shortage. (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703092)

Absolutely. My brother is a master electrician by trade, but is one of the foremost technical experts in HVAC DDC and process controllers. His employer doesn't just love him, they treat him better than the licensed engineers that infest the place. He's the single most important man on any project, 'cause he makes it all all work. And he's the troubleshooter, going into other projects to fix what was done by the second string.

If I knew then what I know now, I'd be a master electrician, and pour myself into these emerging technologies. Screw network administration.

On another note, we just lost a developer here to another outfit. The way he described the interview, they had him do a small coding job. Another friend of mine took a job there as a web developer, and they gave him a small task to accomplish. He described their response when he was done as sheer exctacy. He could actually *DO* something, without taking all day, without handholding, and without leaving it unfinished, almost working. In a week, he was the 'go-to' guy, answering questions from all the developers in his team, especially the senior developer, who was his boss. Yes, he's the senior dev now, having earned his boss a promotion... And he does not yet aspire to a higher position. Just higher pay for doing more than they expect. He'll get it.

How very true that skills are in short supply. Of course, no one wants to speak the truth, that for many specialties, a college degree shoudl get you into an apprenticeship position, with a mentor/trainer to guide you into learning the real-world skills that leverage your 'knowledge'. If we taught artists this way, many wouldn't pick up a brush until their 5th semester. And many wouldn't finish a canvas until grad school, since the block sketches would be enough to demonstrate mastery of the concept... bahahaha....

Myth (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702526)

Yeah and wonder why they keep asking for more women to join the IT field etc, even though it is _obvious_ that most women just aren't as interested in the IT fields as they are in other fields.

More supply = lower cost to these rich companies.

H1Bs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702532)

"It doesn't add up," Wadhwa said. "We live in a free economy. If we were sitting in a government controlled economy it would be one thing, but in a free economy what happens is that when shortages begin to develop is that prices rise and the money compensates for the shortage."

What's happening is that shortages, real or imagined, are in and more and more companies are looking for H1B's to fill the jobs. The salaries aren't really increasing, because H1Bs are filling the gaps. Without the availability of relatively cheap, skilled foreign labor, that point might be worthwhile.

The Myth prevails (0, Redundant)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702544)

Mostly to lower wages, increase profits and cut expenses. If you keep on feeding the myth of a shortage and getting cheap labor influxes its hard to give up on the myth when it can make you so much more money. I mean really, everything labor related is is labor expenses - thats what it boils down to. Its not that there aren't enough people working in the field, its just that the field wants to lower its costs with cheaper labor.

Its the ongoing commoditization of not just the products but the people that maintain them. They've already commoditized the manufacturing and they're desperately trying to do the same to the engineering, infrastructure and support sides.

Put a price on it and compete on price alone. The holy grail of Capitalist pigs the angst of the modern day IT worker.

Re:The Myth prevails (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702984)

Maybe this is my naive way of looking at things, but wouldn't a shortage in a job market INCREASE the average salary in said market? I mean, how do you get more people into a market when you're desperate for them, other than to offer more money (benefits)? I can think of no way a shortage of qualified applicants could be leveraged into an excuse to CUT wages, but maybe I'm missing something here.

oldest em ploy ment trick in the book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702546)

industry is always crying about shortages but never bothers teaching people those skills

if they really needed people, they'd just pay more

after all, it is a labour market

So easy to scam system (0, Troll)

ragtoplvr (1023649) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702556)

H1B supposed to be when no qualified person can be found here BUT qualified is not defined: 1. Find IT person in overseas country of your choice 2. Write requirements to fit only that person 3. Advertise job, reject all domestic applicants. Ex. Job requires 5 years Unix experience , you have 4.5 4. Bring in person, pay 60% of going rate 5. Never forget your campaign contribution. 6. = profit = re-election

Re:So easy to scam system (2, Informative)

CubeRootOf (849787) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702738)

These are the rules with H1-b as of nov 2003.

I do not believe that they have changed substantially since then.

Search for prevailing wage: this would be you 'going rate'. What you suggest in point 4 is illegal.

http://www.murthy.com/mb_pdf/nov2803.pdf [murthy.com]

Shortage is real, at least in Seattle (1)

Cadrys (43897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702570)

Tell that to my open positions and total lack of applicants. The local talent pool is drained of anybody *worth* hiring in the first place.

Re:Shortage is real, at least in Seattle (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702782)

Then ship them over from other US areas. Western New York and Pennsylvania (especially rural areas) have lots of geeks that wouldn't mind shipping to Seattle or elsewhere. I applied for jobs in Missouri, Seattle, ... usually I got denied because it's too expensive to both relocate me and then pay the price of a good IT worker. So they'll usually use a poorly skilled worker locally which doesn't have that overhead and will work under $50k

I was willing to move and I would even give in on some pay in order to get in a nicer area but in the end I didn't have to because I found something locally. There is no shortage, there is overabundance of skilled IT workers, so much so that I was at one time out of a permanent job for almost 3 months although from a lot of companies I got the reply: Your resume is impressive. You'll have to pay the price though, don't expect me to get from a 70k+ job to a 40k job just because your company is doing bad. And if I take the job because I need the money, don't expect me to stay very long either.

Living Wage (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702606)

"This whole concept of shortages is bogus, it shows a lack of understanding of the labor pool in the USA."
Yes, the lack of understanding that resident U.S. IT workers wish to make a living wage.

The IT labor "shortage" is a profit issue.

Re:Living Wage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702832)

How much is a living wage? Everyone I know working in IT makes more than folks working in other fields.

I am serious, what's a living wage?

Also, why don't the people working in fast food or retail deserve the same wage?
If it's because you think they lack education.. what about people with degrees in subjects like History .. many of them make crap wages.

The "no shortage" talk is also self-serving (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702624)

There are two very obvious sides to this argument:

1. We want more supply of labor to bring the price down.
2. We want less supply of labor to bring the price up.

Both positions are entirely self-serving. There's no surprise.

FWIW: Our company is looking for someone to be a Unix/Linux sysadmin in the Sacramento area. We pay well. We can't find anyone.

Re:The "no shortage" talk is also self-serving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702780)

FWIW: Our company is looking for someone to be a Unix/Linux sysadmin in the Sacramento area. We pay well. We can't find anyone.

Then you aren't looking hard enough or have requirements that even people who develop code for the linux kernel wouldn't qualify for.

Re:The "no shortage" talk is also self-serving (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702822)

Then you aren't looking hard enough or have requirements that even people who develop code for the linux kernel wouldn't qualify for.

We can't even find people to interview, much less interview and reject.

Re:The "no shortage" talk is also self-serving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702874)

You pay well, or you pay well for the Sacramento area?

My organization pays well too, if you live in the middle of nowhere, but the pay sucks for Colorado...

Re:The "no shortage" talk is also self-serving (1)

Kohath (38547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702998)

You pay well, or you pay well for the Sacramento area?

I don't know how much everyone at the company makes. We pay well for the areas where we're located. We haven't been able to find anyone to send an offer letter to.

How much effort does someone have to go to and how much do they have to offer to pay before a shortage can be acknowledged?

Re:The "no shortage" talk is also self-serving (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703012)

Wow, that's surprising. Sacramento, "Where Does This Place End?" California isn't exactly wanting for people.

Cheap IT labor is a myth (5, Insightful)

Black Art (3335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702632)

When they talk about an "IT labor shortage", they are talking about how many people are willing to work for low wages and yet have a large pool of skills, talent and education.

There are plenty of people who have the skill sets they need, they just don't want to pay the kind of wages it takes to get them and keep them.

I am not talking about kids just out of college expecting a high paying job. I am talking about companies that want people with 10+ years worth of experience and want to pay them like a kid out of college.

It has been true for a very long time that the only way you can get a real pay increase in IT it to move somewhere else. Until companies start looking at their employees as a resource and not an expense and pay them accordingly, the situation will not improve.

All these cries to let them import labor is to allow them to rent temporary employees who can be deported at the first sign of "getting uppity" for demanding a living wage.

Re:Cheap IT labor is a myth (2, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702870)

Meh. IT is still a "non-revenue generating department" for the vast majority of businesses. That means their budgets suck hind teat; but worse, the bulk of the budget goes to things like hardware and software, so you're left with the dregs to supply salary money for your workers.

If they don't take it seriously, they can't expect to attract top talent.

Re:Cheap IT labor is a myth (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703130)

'Meh. IT is still a "non-revenue generating department" for the vast majority of businesses. That means their budgets suck hind teat; but worse, the bulk of the budget goes to things like hardware and software, so you're left with the dregs to supply salary money for your workers.

If they don't take it seriously, they can't expect to attract top talent.'

I would think that a vast majority of businesses (large and small) depend so heavily on IT, that proper talented IT staffing would be paramount. IT affects all "revenue generating" departments of a company. But then again, it's the bottom line that counts, not quality and customer service. And I guess there is a difference between 'direct' and 'indirect' revenue.

Re:Cheap IT labor is a myth (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703138)

While IT may not be a "non-revenue generating department", it certainly can be a "cost savings department". The problem is nobody ever sees the cost savings, as it tends to get swallowed up in areas of other needs.

Take for instance our payroll run. Used to take one guy six or seven hours to run all the payroll checks through the form fed line printer, signature machine and burst them (tear edges). Never mind that if the printer foobared he'd have to start over again.

Changing printers (cost 2x2000) and programming charges (???), cut that down from the 6 hours to less than 2. Each payroll. This doesn't include the cost savings on payroll forms which don't have to be continuous fed paper or any of the other related costs.

We'll never see those 4 missing hours on a budget sheet however, as those are now occupied by other tasks that were either not getting done, or done on overtime. You'll never see the cost savings of this type of IT event.

Re:Cheap IT labor is a myth (1)

Jynx77 (974092) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702884)

This is so true. I personally know 4 *good* developers that have left IT over the last 5 years. These weren't band-wagoners that hopped on in the late 90s, these were good developers. IT at most large organizations these days is a joke. It's all jargon and PMPs with no one around that can really get anything done. If you do happen to be one of the few real coders still around, you end up working with 5 project managers and a bunch of contractors (which I am now). Unless things change, I don't think I can ever go back to work as an employee for a large corporate entity again.

Re:Cheap IT labor is a myth (2, Interesting)

PatSand (642139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703040)

Here's a quote from the article:

In the case of industry business people, the motive is to get the Feds to loosen immigration restrictions for cheap foreign labor, to increase supply of workers in order to reduce labor costs and to justify offshore outsourcing efforts, Hira said.

I get lots of offers to work in NYC (and other places like Iowa, Kansas, etc.) in IT but at the wages I was making 20-30 years ago. If businesses are going to expect first-world expertise (50+ years of Java coding) but pay third-world wages (you can get by fine on $40/hr in NYC doing senior level coding), well....they have their labor shortage.

One of the best indicators I found for how desirable a field is for workers is to look at the percentage of college-educated workers that are female. Sad fact is that the IT field has very few female IT coders...they've moved into BA roles or PM roles because those jobs won't get outsourced to cheaper labor pools and these other jobs have some career paths defined. Women do tend to take a longer view of work than men, especially at the career level.

smart employers always say there is a shortage (1)

tolworthy (1205778) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702640)

This encourages more students to train in IT. Supply goes up, price comes down.

I guess this depends on where you are (1)

SirCodeAlot (574117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702680)

I know it is real here. We have had to increase our recruiting trips to every major University within 5 hours of us, and forget about finding experienced devs.

Supply and demand (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702686)

What Bill Gates and others want is a glut of workers in the market, this makes it more competitive and means wages are lower.

Okay-- joke done.. now reality at a big corp (4, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702714)

We use some H1B's (and try to get them green cards).

We pay a "decent" salary-- my buds at HP earn roughly 10% more-- those in the oil field earn about 20% more (but have a history of frequent layoffs). We have solid benefits that exceed those of the oil field and HP.

The reality is- we are about to lose positions because we cannot even get under-qualified people to apply for them. Now part of it is that we require people with at least a couple other jobs experience under their belt. Part of it is that being a big corp, our bureaucracy is pretty harsh. I have a friend who was sucked into Schluberje (sp) recently and there you literally have to take a driving class (as a frikkin programmer???) as part of your job duties. Bureaucracy gone mad. I'm sure many of you have seen office space--- we are 3x office space. It really takes a special person to fit in a large corporation. Jobs that would take 2 hours at a small company (and be very satisfying) may take three months. I even know of one project that was finished a year ago and it is still stuck waiting to be prioritized for release.

Sarbanes Oxley takes all the joy out of being a programmer. It just sucks the life out of it. Coders like to code 32 hours a week-- not 32 hours per quarter. You can't even maintain your coding skills at those levels.

I think the IT Worker crunch IS coming- and it is going to be wicked nasty starting in about 2012.

HP IT equals Soviet bureaucracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22703006)

In HP's IT they require you to weekly track
your hours. Woe to the manager who's direct reports
don't fill in their hours.
IT new hires ask in staff meetings "does anyone code here?"
because all they do is project management.
If you try to read all the corporate emails that
are sent into your mail box, you'd spend 20% of your
day doing it. Don't forget all the time you have to spend
doing all your yearly corporate certifications and
procedures on lame-ass web systems that make the process
10x longer than it should take.
HP and other large corporations resemble the Soviet
Union at the end of the cold war: Big, threatening,
and on the verge of collapse due to their bureaucracy.

How much of the "shortage" would disappear... (3, Funny)

Tsar (536185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702740)

...if /. were only available at night?

Far from it (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702758)

it shows a lack of understanding of the labor pool in the USA This does not show a lack of understanding. It shows that they are like all those employing illegal aliens; well aware of what the pool is doing.

Why not pay more? (2, Interesting)

bamwham (1211702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702762)

and let the job market correct itself? We have these same issues in my field. If people were payed what they are worth we wouldn't have to import workers. I see these claims of shortages of workers in any field as simply industry's (quite successful) attempts to suppress wages for a long time to come, rather than be forced to pay the wage that the current supply-demand for that skill set dictates. Once society sees the adjusted pay grades, incoming students will adjust the supply accordingly. You don't honestly think everyone is getting a business degree because they perceive that those are the jobs most in demand. No, everyone does business degrees because the work-pay ratio is seen as being much better in that field than others. Imagine the responses of CEO's and CFO's if we showed that there was a shortage of skilled executives. Actually given the current state of affairs in some industries it seems there is certainly a shortage of skilled CEO's and CFO's. Now rather than pay the existing LARGE salaries and incentive packages, why don't we just import some Cheif Officers from outside the US.

not a myth to US college students (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702792)

They responded by dropping computer science enrollments to a ten year low in 2007 - half of the 2000 peak. They know you must love computers and not the money. And that may not even be enough to keep a job in the US.

Completely disagree (4, Interesting)

pavera (320634) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702796)

Sure there may not be a shortage of IT resumes on monster... But there sure is a shortage of people who can back up their resumes with actual demonstrated work/skill.

We are offering market wage, and we are hiring entry level people, maybe 1 in 30 of the people we interview actually demonstrates the minimum of critical thinking and problem solving skills needed to be a decent software developer. Our interviews are not concentrated on any one platform, we have stuff in foxpro, java, python, php, c++ and c#... So our interviews are focused on critical thinking and problem solving. We have a couple basic problem solving questions and 2 algorithm questions which we routinely ask.. This is stuff I learned in high school, or my 2nd year algorithms class in college. People who are professing CS degrees and 0-5 years experience are routinely getting these questions wrong.

Even the few people we have hired over the last 3-6 months have been disappointing in their ability to a) learn new languages, b) learn and follow best practices, c) demonstrate real troubleshooting/bug fixing skills. C is probably my biggest pet peeve, as a manager I don't know how many times in the last 6 months I've had to go to a programmers system when they say "I'm getting this error and I don't know what it means" and the error message very clearly lays out the problem, the line it is occurring on, etc...

Either CS degrees are seriously lacking in rigor since I participated ~ 8 years ago, or they are just rubber stamping people that shouldn't be passing the classes.

Re:Completely disagree (1)

bamwham (1211702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703100)

We are offering market wage ... Either CS degrees are seriously lacking in rigor since I participated ~ 8 years ago, or they are just rubber stamping people that shouldn't be passing the classes.
Or Market wage isn't good enough for the worker you want to higher. There have always been people getting degrees that don't actually have the documented skills, but the better the pay in a field the more qualified, motivated, and worthy students will enter that field. Right now CS is not seen as a field for motivated students, the only way to fix this is for industry to offer more incentives.

I see this as fact (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702812)

I work for a information-based organization in Washington State. We offer excellent pay and sweet-arse benefits IMO. But there are just not enough qualified applicants for the IT positions we have open. We will get lots of resumes, but they seem to fall into one of two categories:
-I have an MCSE and 6 month actual work experience
-I have a doctorate in computer science but can't manage a network at all (seriously, we had one guy who could not define what DNS was)

Re:I see this as fact (1)

bamwham (1211702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702934)

I would say that your pay and benefits aren't sweet enough IMHO. Seriously why is your first response: "There aren't enough qualified.." rather than "We aren't offering enough compensation ... " ?? Just because you would take the job for what you are offering doesn't mean your future applicant would; and how do you expect the situation to correct if you are unbending in your assessment of the compensation package? Ohh that's right, you'll get the government to bail your company out and import what are essentially scabs from somewhere else.

Key Word (1)

immcintosh (1089551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702844)

I think the key word has always been talented. As in a shortage of talented IT people.

It really is bogus and here's why.. (4, Insightful)

jskline (301574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702852)

I had not read through all of these today but having survived 5+ years now of business only hiring temps and "independent contractors", I have a fair amount of knowledge in the area. Because of this "outsourcing" that many of us went through, our jobs were cut by moves in business to cut IT costs and improve profits for the shareholders, et al. This really is nothing more than devaluating the duties and tasks that we do to that of a high schooler working at a local Mickey-D's.

The real "shortage" comes about because business is NOT able to find someone willing to come in and be an all-purpose IT person, network guru, server admin., etc. and accept pay to the tune of $11 per hour. Thats the real shortage issue. So they will further outsource the jobs and bring in foreigners on H1B's to do those jobs at substantially reduced rates. IBM and a handful of other international companies are notorious for this.

Really what it will come down to is let these large companies hire the kids for $11. You really do get what you paid for. Eventually when things begin to collapse for many of these companies, they will be force to bring in people with knowledge and experience, and best of all; pay them what they're worth.

Remember that: "What goes around; comes around"

Not exactly (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702880)

We have plenty of IT people available to us, the problem is finding those who know their stuff over those who think they know their stuff.

Distorted perceptions (3, Insightful)

joeflies (529536) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702882)

I think that there is a bit of a distorted perception that there is always a shortage of IT labor, because no matter where you work, no matter how many people are in your staff, you'll believe that your department is understaffed and overworked. Have you ever heard an IT staff say "we have just the right amount of people for just the right amount of work?"

Corporate Greed (1)

GHynson (1216406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702894)

It's just corporate BS to hire cheaper overseas labour.

oops, a typo (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702912)

"This whole concept of shortages is bogus, it shows a lack of understanding of the motivations of labor management in the USA."

There, fixed that for ya.

Even the original writeup used the term "self-serving." It's not a misunderstanding of who is available, it's a direct consequence of the idea that, even with air travel expenses and shepherding, getting some third-world contractor to do the coding will save money. Whether this idea is actually defensible on cost-vs-quality terms is debatable, but the idea remains important, in management's view.

Think in four quadrants. The quadrant representing status-quo is high-cost/high-quality of domestic staff. If quality targets can be a bit lax, domestic staff would get restless and churn, while imported staff wins on cost. If the skills of the imported staff are actually above average, they win again. Two winning quadrants, one status-quo, and one quadrant with staff churn. I'm sure I could phrase it better but it sounds like a "slam dunk" in manager-ese.

The way HR writes job ads is often the problem (5, Insightful)

Panaqqa (927615) | more than 6 years ago | (#22702916)

Many times in a 30 year IT career, I have seen Human Resources people who are clueless about technology writing ads that have qualifications that nobody could meet. Examples: 5 months after the introduction of the JDK 1.0, there were ads asking for 3-5 years of Java experience. There are ads currently out there asking for 3-5 years of ActionScript 3 (introduced I think June of 2006). Requiring a bachelors degree for an entry level help desk position doesn't add up to a healthy pool of qualified applicants either.

Job ads often have a huge list of "requirements" as well, and an applicant missing even one of them might well be screened out. An example of this? Seasoned web developers might not bother listing FTP on their resume. In their view, requiring a web developer to have FTP experience is like requiring a carpenter to know how to use a saw. But that failure to list FTP on the resume might well mean the application is automatically trashed. I have seen HR screen out applicants for a web developer position because they neglected to list HTTP, DHTML, and Photoshop on their resume. And don't get me started about HR's lack of understanding of the difference between a web developer and a web designer.

If HR departments are the source of some of the statistical and anecdotal evidence being trotted forth in support of the existence of this "shortage", I am not surprised the picture looks grim.

Just like in education . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22702992)

I've been teaching mathematics for 20 years now, and ever since starting I've been told that there's a shortage of mathematics teachers. What's most puzzling is that 65% of the teaching time at my school is done by extremely low paid adjuncts . . . the union (surprisingly) is the main advocate of low paid adjuncts as it helps reduce the total cost of instruction, which helped a cadre of union old timers reach outrageous salaries ($170,000/year for 32 weeks of work, benefits (~$20,000) not included). The adjunct rate for an equivalent load is a flat $15,000 (I'm not kidding).

The best part of these numbers is that the public routinely buys the mantra that we need mathematics teachers, and the reason that we have such bad outcomes is that few are qualified to teach mathematics. Oh, did I mention that the adjuncts at my school are required to have advanced degrees in mathematics?

Yes, IT often explains away their incompetence as a result of not enough qualified people. Funny, but I think most of the IT staff at my school are low paid part-timers, with a small cadre of well paid people at the top. I hope you see the similarities.

really good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22703004)

How many REALLY GOOD lawyer, doctor, judge, CEO, cop, accountant, President, teacher, painter, cook, journalist, chemical engineer, actor... - whatever is out there? Most of them are average, I bet...

Why would IT professionals be any different?

There can't be a shortage, basic econ (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703010)

There's probably a shortage of GOOD people that will work at low wages.

In fact, that's probably as it should be.

The real problem might be that companies can't easily figure out who is worth nothing and who is worth 4x the average salary.

Why I left ICT (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703044)

From 1997 - 2004 I spent most of my working time doing QA testing (at first blackbox, of course, then went into greybox, and some whitebox, but found black and grey more fun) and I never wanted to get into serious management as it was too boring for words. The most I ever directed was 4 or 5 testers under me, usually contractors.

I left ICT because I finally got sick and tired of 50 hour work weeks, crappy vacation time, the endless stress, the petty competitions, and basically having no life, and retirement consisted of whatever I could squirrel away in a 401k, which isn't much when you live in San Francisco, and then have a baby and then have a mortgage, etc...

So, I got some degrees and now I'm in academia and have a much more active art practice. I get most of the summer off, and life is pretty good. I left the USA, and instantly doubled my vacation time. during the school year I work 50 - 60 hours a week, like I did before, but now I get summers off, and 2 weeks at Xmas and 5 weeks vacation. There is stress, but it's not like a certain micromanaging CEO of a certain Huge Company is standing on my desk screaming at me and my colleagues for blowing a deadline.

So, if there is a problem with retention of quality people in ICT, from my experience, it likely has to do more with the crap working conditions and dismal futures of so much of the average ICT employee. Note: AVERAGE employee. The stars will always excel, but if you're not a high flying Type A aneurysm waiting to happen, and you just want a job at something that doesn't hurt, being an average ICT worker isn't always such a great deal.

RS

It's all about wages... (3, Insightful)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703072)

Scott Kirwin, founder of the Information Technology Professionals Association of America, put it best:

"The problem is not a lack of highly educated workers. The problem is a lack of highly educated workers willing to work for the minimum wage or lower in the U.S. Costs are driving outsourcing, not the quality of American schools."

http://www.fispace.org/home/2004/01/_when_i_woke_up.html [fispace.org]

Same as Engineer Shortage in 1980 that was recantd (1)

carterson2 (1133379) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703120)

When I graduated in the 80's, where they announced an EE shortage. About 10 yrs later I read in EEtimes that the basis was flawed, and in fact there was no shortage. QED... Companies pool together in waves of announcements. First they hire illegals, then create a fake housing market, then have mass layoffs, then tell congress to oust illegals. Then they outsource. They don't want to do it alone. If FedEx fills US buildings with Indian IT labor, they make sure they are in parity with other local businesses such as Microsoft, Harrahs, you name it. We need an EE union. Lets start one, slashdotters! I was anti union for 100 years, but if you look hard at unions, sometimes they are better than watching your country go down the tube. Look at England, now they are just a bunch of pomp. The Auto unions kept manufacturing in the US. They suck a lot, but they gave workers a voice. They prevented outsourcing while promising a profit and wage caps. I work at a company that makes programmers wear safety glasses! A union would kill that nonesense, but a worker cannot! They kill our productivity, then outsource our nonproductive asses to India! Don't be a bunch of chicken IT babies. Lets start a union now! Why doesn't Leahy (pres IEEE) promote UNIONS. Lawyers have them, doctors have them, dentists have them. EE union now! -jim

Sure, there's a shortage (1)

C0C0C0 (688434) | more than 6 years ago | (#22703126)

I think many of us are defining the commodity of which there is a shortage wrong: It's IT workers, with the skills in demand, willing to take what the boss thinks the work is worth. One may go on and on about how their l33t skillz is worth X amount of dollars, but if they don't result in X + Y revenue for the guy cutting the check, then you cost too much.
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