Careers: A Job-Seeker’s Market

Thanks to reduced unemployment and a graying workforce, we could be on the verge of a war for top IT talent. That bodes well for mainframe pros.

If you need more proof that it’s now a job-seeker’s market, check out a recent study from market watcher International Data Corp. (IDC). HR services spending grew by 10 last year—due in large part to a strengthening economy. Better still, IDC researchers say, HR services spending will experience a compound annual growth rate of 9 percent from 2006 through 2010.

That’s good news for IT job seekers everywhere, especially for IT pros in offshore locales. The downside of IDC’s research—from the perspective of most North American IT pros, anyway—is that companies are also tapping HR services to help them identify offshore talent.

Earlier this year, IDC reported that talent (along with experience and certification) once again mattered—in a major way. The market watcher predicted that the IT job picture would start to get increasingly contentious, as rival firms vied with one another for top IT talent. IDC reasoned as follows: Company A wants to proactively identify and retain top employee performers before they can be identified and potentially wooed away by Company B. Company B, on the other hand, wants to recruit top talent from outside its walls. Or perhaps Company B wants to identify and retain top employee talent while Company A wants to recruit it from outside the organization. As a result, the researcher said, firms were disproportionately turning to Workforce Performance Management solutions to help them identify and retain top IT talent.

Ditto for HR services, says IDC program manager Lisa Rowan. “In 2006 and beyond, the focus will turn to managing talent as a key area for expertise. With a scarcity of resources in both the North America and Asia/Pacific regions, buyers of HR services will seek consulting services to better scope their talent risks and identify top performers and look to outsourcing as a strategy to do more with less,” said Rowan, in a statement.

Last year, the North American and European markets were the biggest consumers of HR services. The United States, for the record, set the pace, increasing its consumption of HR services by 12.5 percent last year, due in large part to an improving economy and lower unemployment, IDC said. The Asia/Pacific market, on the other hand, posted the most dramatic growth, even though it’s smaller than both the North American and European markets, IDC said. One reason for this, researchers explained, is that employers in a number of countries expanded their Asia-Pacific presences as a result of offshore deals.

There’s good news for mainframe pros, too. Thanks to reduced unemployment and a graying workforce—particularly in the North America and Asia/Pacific regions—IDC says we’re on the verge of a reemerging war for top IT talent.

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About the Author

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