Resident Clarity expert Terri Sallaz examines how exponential IT job growth hurts the SMB market.
If you’re wondering what career path your children should choose today, I’d suggest information technology (IT). At a time when 8.2 percent of the U.S. job seeking labor force is out of work, IT employment has grown at twice the rate of the overall job market, according to TechServe Alliance.
IT employment grew to another all-time high in March 2012 with more than 4.1 million jobs available. This is great news for any current technology-oriented student; you can be sure that with a little bit of relevant training, there is a job waiting for you. This first quarter 2012 growth continues a two-year trend in quarterly IT job growth that has no end in sight.
Why isn’t this good news for small business? Because it means that more and more companies are competing for the scarce, qualified IT personnel in the marketplace. If you are a skilled IT employee, you can choose where you want to work and demand top dollar. You’ll likely want to work somewhere that is prestigious, stimulating and that offers career advancement. Geeks (and I use the term with the highest regard) like to be with geeks. They like to talk their own language and share ideas. They either want to be in a large enterprise with a significant IT department or in a company that counts technology as a core competency. Either situation offers more stimulation from coworkers and a more robust career path than they can realize at a small business.
For small businesses, this means that if you currently employ a competent IT professional, they are vulnerable to being lured away by greener grass at any time. Let’s face it, their upward mobility in your business is limited. Maybe you have a competent employee who has been with you for five years and professes to want to retire with your company. Don’t you have to wonder if you are getting the best IT for your money if nobody else is knocking on their door?
Competition is heating up for qualified IT employees, and at the same time, fewer and fewer students today are choosing careers in science, technology, engineering and math fields (known as STEM). NetStandard is leading a local initiative to increase the number of students choosing careers in technology and to improve alignment between educational output and business hiring needs.
Small and mid-sized businesses need to recognize that IT is becoming increasingly complex and internal resources can’t keep up with ongoing break/fix demands. It is virtually impossible for internal IT resources to maintain expertise in the myriad of specialties now demanded to manage a best practice network that ensures increasing business valuation.
What’s the answer? Find a trusted outsourced provider whose core competency is IT. Let them attract the talent you need and deliver it to you in an amortized model similar to how you purchase electricity.