IT TrendsThere’s been lots of interesting stuff in the news recently. I’d like to highlight several articles that discuss different but related issues facing CIOs, HR, and any others responsible for staffing and managing an IT department or company.

As those of us in this position already know very well, the IT industry has unemployment rates that are half what the overall national rate is and some skill sets and hot jobs have close to zero unemployment. This has made the competition for talent extremely competitive, driving up costs in both salaries and lost productivity while waiting to fill open positions. This is reflected in the article CIOs Focus on Retention for Hard to Fill IT Jobs. Attracting skilled workers is becoming so challenging that retaining employees is taking on just as much importance as hiring new ones.

One way that companies fill some of these openings is by using H-1b visas to bring skilled workers from overseas. The H-1b Visa Conundrum from CIO Insight provides a concise update and advice on possible outcomes depending on what happens with the current proposed legislative changes.

One thing that might make you feel better after reading the H-1b update is Outsourcing vs. Insourcing: You Need Both from Information Week. The article discusses the trend of “reshoring” jobs in the U.S. and highlights the recent announcement by GM that it was bringing back 10,000 IT jobs. It makes the point that “the biggest reason for the emergence of insourcing, or reshoring, is that for the delivery of some IT services, it just makes sense” and also that “the rise of reshoring is being fueled by certain changes in IT such as a bigger domestic talent pool outside tier-one cities, the use of videoconferencing to make distributed teams highly productive, and the overall maturation of the outsourcing market.”

Perhaps the most important point that the author makes though is the idea that “rightsourcing,” or what is also known as a “global services model” is the best answer for businesses. Rightsourcing recognizes that there is no single answer that works for everyone; your individual company’s or department’s needs will dictate what combination of sourcing models will be right for you. Increasingly companies are determining that “in,” “out,” “off,” or “near” shoring in some combination may be more cost effective, efficient and deliver better results than picking one model for all their IT needs.

All of this underscores the benefits that working with an IT staffing firm can bring. Whatever your overall IT workforce strategy and whichever combination of the various “shoring” options you employ, a good staffing provider can help, whether it is filling positions temporarily or helping you recruit for permanent employees.’s article Let’s Be Honest: You Can Automate Sourcing, may sound like it has a negative message or is another prediction of the demise of the staffing industry, but it’s not. Instead it talks about how the “software as a service” (SaaS) model could be applied to staffing, proposing that “the sourcing-as-a-service platform would leave [recruiters] time to concentrate on the truly human aspect of sourcing such as understanding client needs, culture, developing a relationship with talent, and closing the job req.”

The article goes on to further state:

“A platform that aggregates, automates, and operationalizes all sourcing tasks would result in a reliable stream of candidates with complete information on them and significant cost and time savings to all. With a reliable stream of candidates, recruiters can spend more making sure their candidate/employer matches are a better fit, understanding their clients’ culture, hiring process, and anticipating future people demand.”

At ATR, I’ve been investing in and adopting new technology since the day I opened the business 25 years ago. The author posits how automation in the staffing industry doesn’t mean the demise of our business but just the opposite, predicting that true automation of certain tasks will “elevate the recruiting profession to new heights of efficiency,” and, I would add, usefulness to both our clients and consultants. When you combine this with the information on the challenges facing CIOs and IT hiring managers, and the hybrid employment models they are adopting, it is hard not to see the future as an exciting one for everyone!

Jerry Brenholz
President and CEO
ATR International

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