Careers: Where the Jobs Are

Not being business savvy could become a resume liability as time goes by

If you think the business of your employer isn’t any of your business, think again. Organizations are increasingly on the lookout for IT pros with business acumen. While not being business savvy might not cost you in the short-term, it could become a liability as your career progresses.

That’s the upshot of a recent survey from IT staffing specialist Robert Half Technology. In fact, Robert Half researchers suggest, IT pros on the prowl for employment should seriously consider honing their business chops.

What lead he firm to that conclusion? An increasing number of IT executives—41 percent of CIOs, according to the Robert Half survey – are on the look-out for business-savvy IT pros, or, at least, for job candidates who have a good grasp of business fundamentals such as accounting, finance, and general operations. Robert Half’s poll is based on a sample of more than 1,400 CIOs at U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. Lest there be any confusion, the IT staffing specialist put the question rather bluntly to IT chiefs: “When evaluating candidates for IT positions with your firm, has the importance you place on knowledge of business fundamentals, such as accounting, finance, and general operations, increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the last five years?”

Of course, most IT decision-makers – 54 percent – say the importance they place on hiring job candidates with a good knowledge of business fundamentals hadn’t increased over the last five years. Even so, there’s an undeniable trend in favor of recruiting IT pros with business skills: only three percent of CIOs, for example, said the importance they placed on hiring business-savvy IT pros had decreased over the last five years.

“Technology is integrated into all aspects of business, which means technical aptitude alone will not suffice for IT candidates,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology, in a statement. “Employers need professionals who can work and communicate effectively with colleagues in all departments.”

As a result, Lee says, job seekers at all levels should consider honing their business chops. “IT professionals who know the industry and business, and can demonstrate their understanding of the company’s core processes, customer base and culture, are in the best position to land—and keep—the best jobs,” she says.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.