Skills Shortage Costly

A survey conducted by Select Appointments North America (Woburn, Mass.) indicates an unmet need for skilled workers at high-tech companies throughout the United States is costing these companies "millions in potential revenue."

The national survey includes responses from 300 CEOs, president and other top managers in the high-tech, manufacturing, financial and management consulting industries. Executives in all industries cite "rapidly changing technology" and "the need to increase productivity" as the key factors contributing to the skills gap.

Select Appointment’s survey indicates that, in spite of the estimated loss in revenue associated with the skills gap, most high-tech companies are relying on current training programs to close it. One-third of those surveyed indicated they plan to implement new training in the next six months.

"While proliferation of client/server networks requiring IS professionals to have extensive contact with end users, effective communications skills have become crucial," says Greg Netland, co-president of New Boston Systems, a provider of IT specialists and a division of Select Appointments NA.

In addition, companies report they have not altered the way they search for new employees. Bruce Wideburg, co-president of New Boston Systems, is skeptical, "Companies wouldn’t expect to succeed in today’s world using PCs with 286 processors; why would they expect to meet the challenge of today’s tight labor market using outdated search techniques?"

In re-thinking their hiring strategies, Wideburg says companies often need to forge "strategic partnerships with organizations that provide skilled workers through training, recruiting or outsourcing of projects."