Career Advancement

IT skill shortfall encourages contracted work

Despite the booming expansion currently occurring in the information technology industry, some IT executives may be holding off on hiring the full-time employees that they need.
The tech sector has been undergoing rapid growth in the past couple of years. However, the rest of the U.S. economy has not been quite as quick with recovering from the Great Recession. As a result, IT recruiters are not so certain that it is safe to take on as many staff members as they would like.
Skill shortage prompts change in plans
Added to their lacking confidence in other industries, chief information officers throughout the country likely don’t know that the tech talent they want to hire is even out there. According to, the combination of an apathetic outlook on the market situation and doubt about the job candidate pool may be making IT departments switch up their employment plans.
The news source reported that a recent survey conducted by the Technology Councils of North America revealed that IT recruiters are looking for viable hires, but are only finding disappointment. Even though 63 percent of IT departments were hoping to expand their staff within the next year, 69 percent stated that they were not coming across many high-quality prospects.
As a result of these fruitless efforts, tech recruiters are pushing to improve the situation in any way possible. Some are increasing their emphasis on STEM studies among the country’s younger population, while others are advocating immigration reform so that qualified foreign professionals can come to the U.S. and work for IT firms. With that said, neither of these solutions are expected to make any immediate progress to the staffing situation.
In the meantime, companies that are short-staffed and need to complete projects in the near future are exploring other options to meet their IT employee demand. Though not completely new, one of the most popular trends in the tech recruiting community is contracting. By enlisting temporary staff members to carry out time-sensitive projects, CIOs can successfully continue their operations without making a commitment to individuals who do not boast all of the skills they are looking for in full-time hires.
Concerns about contracted work
For some IT professionals, securing a position has not necessarily been the easiest of tasks. Even with job opportunities in their industry growing, unemployment has still persisted as companies continue to pass up hiring applicants because they don’t have all the skill sets needed for permanent roles.
Because of this, job seekers are also resorting to temporary solutions. They have recognized that they need to find some sort of work so many of them have entertained the possibility of being an IT contractor. While this gives IT professionals some short-term employment, which they can then add to their résumés, this option poses its own set of concerns.
Forbes explained that becoming a contractor can be a stressful experience for some individuals, especially because it doesn’t guarantee the job stability and security that full-time work does. That is not to say that freelance or temporary work means that contractors will be plagued with money problems and barely making ends meet.
While there are surely going to be ups and downs in terms of income, contracted IT work does not mean that professionals do not have a shot at making a living on their own. It can be difficult for those who are just starting off to build credibility and win themselves some work. Regardless of any bumps in the beginning of a tech professional’s contracting career, he or she can still successfully build up a reputation and a strong client base, which will set them up for more stable salaries further down the road.
Build credibility to earn contracts
The trick to landing some initial contracts is to showcase a specialty, according to Forbes. Although tech candidates may not have every skill on companies’ full-time employee checklist, they are likely to have something to offer businesses that are planning on completing a specific project. For this reason, IT professionals should market themselves to corporate CIOs by highlighting whatever unique talents that may prove beneficial to whatever short-term initiatives they are taking.
Without a consistent freelance track record, newcomers to the contracting community could still have issues with earning companies’ trusts – despite whatever IT expertise they may have. To minimize any problems in the preliminary stages, potential contracted professionals should first flip their personal contacts to see if any acquaintances are in need of their tech services.
Past coworkers, friends and family can all vouch for an individual’s integrity and quality of work. These network connections can help professionals find contract work in different ways. For instance, they could ask around their company IT departments, seeing if there is any staff shortages for specific projects. If this is asking too much of these associates, tech freelancers can at least have them act as references. This will increase their credibility as professionals, which could lead to more consistent IT contract work being thrown their way.

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