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US IT job creation growing fastest in non-traditional sectors, geographies

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"The speed of change and hyper-specialization of skills in the IT workforce is creating competitive disruption," said Jean Martin, executive director, CEB. "We need to start thinking beyond Silicon Valley when searching for qualified IT workers and leverage new tools to determine where to locate talent, who to target and how to win against talent competitors.  We also need to invest more heavily in measuring and developing employee potential rather than seeking out the perfect resume since the skills we want today may be obsolete three years from now. It's the new reality for companies that want to succeed in today's dynamic work environment and the winners will be those companies who use location-based planning intelligence as a source of unique competitive talent advantage."

As IT skills become move pivotal to a wide range of business operations, six new roles are emerging that further constrain the IT talent pool, including: technology brokers, cloud integration specialists, collaboration evangelists, service architects, user-experience designer, and information insight enablers. For example, employers posted 165,000 job openings for Big Data Scientists relative to an installed pool of only 185,000 professionals across the US. This compels companies to source candidates outside of San Francisco and Boston in emerging hubs like Dallas and St. Louis.

Companies in search of IT talent can take a variety of steps to mitigate the pressures of the employee supply gap, including:

  • Building a compelling employment brand—Identify the specific likes and dislikes of ideal IT candidates in order to design messages that portray the organization's "best offer" for scarce talent.
  • Rethinking location planning strategies—Ensure that in addition to traditional economic considerations and executive relationships, the organization analyzes how dynamics of talent supply, cost and competition can create competitive advantage. Understand too, the competition for the required skills or candidate profile, which influences the cost of talent.
  • Investing in workforce development and education partnerships—Build proprietary sources of fresh talent by supporting online learning communities or partnering with colleges and universities to shape education programs that align to company demand forecasts. 
  • Screening employees for potential not performance—Given the speed at which IT skills become obsolete, measure IT job candidates' competencies, assessing for potential (i.e.: ability to learn quickly and apply judgment) rather than past performance in a similar job.

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