Morton Consulting and the staffing industry have seen a significant change in the marketplace over the past six months. Despite being in the midst of a sluggish economy, demand for staffing services has remained consistent, perhaps even a bit higher, in comparison to last year. There are a number of factors that impact the IT staffing world from a supply and demand perspective. Technology budgets, organizational changes, government regulations, hiring freezes, technological advances, acquisitions / mergers, systems development lifecycle, and many other factors help determine the demand for staffing and consulting services. In most cases, with a full pipeline of approaching business and a strong portfolio of existing business, staffing and consulting companies like Morton Consulting remain strong through volatile market conditions.
The majority of the requests we are seeing from customers have been in three primary areas – SharePoint, Java Development, and .NET Development. There has been significant demand in these spaces over the past year as SharePoint continues to be adopted into many organizations and as Java / .Net remains the primary framework for business applications. The high level of demand in our business certainly isn’t isolated to these areas, and is also seen in WebSphere Commerce, BizTalk, Informatica, Web Development (PHP, CSS, LAMP), and Cognos. We’ve even seen some demand in older technologies like Kronos.
The supply of qualified candidates has been the primary challenge Morton Consulting and the staffing industry constantly face. While in Las Vegas for the Staffing Industry Analyst Executive Forum, I heard a MIT PhD Economist tell a crowd of over 500 staffing executives suggest that if you have young children, their education should focus heavily on math and science programs, as there is a serious shortage of technically trained professionals in the United States marketplace. This shortage in supply has led to a situation where candidates who are in the marketplace with in demand qualifications (Java, .NET, and SharePoint among others) are being aggressively pursued by every employer/agency looking for those skills. If you are the buyer or organization in need of this specialization or expertise, these are my recommendations to ensure you land the talent you need:
- If you see a resume or a candidate you like, MOVE QUICKLY! Candidates with .NET, Java, SharePoint, WebSphere Commerce, and LAMP Development do not and will not continue to stay on the market for very long in pursuit of their next opportunity. There is high demand in these areas, and if you want a shot at landing the resource, as I always say, you must be the first to the cheese.
- If you can’t pay competitively, someone else will. Money isn’t everyone’s primary motivator to consider making a career move, but it is important to provide candidates with the right opportunity and compensation to keep them excited about accepting your job. Rates and salaries continue to climb, and if you want the best talent, you have to keep up.
- Be willing to think outside the box. Sometimes you run across a candidate with only 70% to 80% of the experience required, but who has the potential to quickly learn everything. You should consider engaging this person and building your team for the future. If there is a hiring freeze, perhaps consider engaging contractors to make sure deadlines and projects continue to be delivered on time and within budget.
At Morton Consulting it is our goal to work with our customers through strong partnerships, staying ahead of your needs so that we are ready to deliver as they arise. High demand and low supply continue to benefit firms like Morton Consulting, and we remain committed to ensuring that our customers have the talent they need, when they need it.
Director of Operations