Sona Sharma's Blog

Riding the IT Staffing Growth Wave

The IT market has been on a steady growth path and our research indicates that it will continue to outperform other segments of staffing for a few years to come. Unless there is a glitch in the global economy, this boom should keep booming.

However, I would caution against complacency. Let me explain why.

First the good news -- Our Staffing Industry Pulse Survey results show that the IT staffing segment:

  • experienced a median year-over-year growth of 13%, which is the highest of any staffing segment
  • reported the strongest bill rate trends as compared to other segments
  • was the only segment to note higher level of difficulty in recruiting versus selling (a bullish sign)

Now, let’s drill down into the last bullet point a bit more. A higher level of difficulty in recruiting implies a tight talent market for the right candidates, especially in categories such as network and computer systems administrators and database administrators where the unemployment rate is very low. Then there is demand from the mobile market, all things social, big data and analytics, and IT security. It’s not only the new technology skills, but also the usual suspects such as JAVA programmers and SAP specialists that are being actively sought after. The all-pervasive nature of technology these days has made pretty much every business a technology business, pushing employment growth in IT to outperform growth in total U.S. employment.

Given that talent is not plentiful, how are IT staffing firms planning to recruit these qualified candidates that are so hot in demand? How are IT staffing firms making themselves available to IT professionals? We asked about 3,300 contingent workers how they find recruiters specializing in their skills. And guess what?

  • 37% of them said they ask a friend for a recruiter referral
  • 34% go on the Internet to look for one
  • 28% contact a staffing firm
  • 1% sift through newspapers and ads

It’s ironic that contacting a staffing firm is third on the list of contingent workers to find a recruiter!

We did a search for the term IT recruiter on the web, and the results again were not heartening. Zero recruiter names came up in the first 20 search results. And only four staffing firms popped up in the first 20 search results. There certainly something not right about this picture.

There are multiple factors at play here that I am not going to go into in great detail in this blog. Suffice it to say that such results could be a consequence of the negligible amount of attention staffing firms pay to market themselves, especially to their candidates. We know that IT staffing websites were graded least effective in terms of contributing to the company’s success. The general thinking is “if we build it, they will come.” Clearly, that’s not happening to the desirable extent. So, what can be done to rectify this situation? We need to come up with the answer fast because as the war for talent heats up, it will get harder and harder to ride this IT staffing growth wave. 

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Bingham Consulting Professionals

Amy Bingham 14/02/2014 4:23 pm

Excellent perspective Sona. I continually see IT firms not investing energy and resources in business development, which is a mistake. Like Commercial Staffing firms learned as their niche became more competitive years ago, staffing is a sales business. You must be continually selling and marketing. IT staffing firms that don't have robust websites with a strong SEO focus are obviously at a disadvantage, as SIA's survey shows. IT firms must sell to candidates, and to do that well, candidates must be able to easily locate them.


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