Monday, November 21, 2011

High unemployment and major skill shortages. A problem with only one solution.

Our blog has moved. You will find this blog post and fresh content on our new Talascend IT blog.
By Josh Kaplan

Is there really such a thing as the wrong kind of job?

With job creation on the lips of every aspiring and incumbent politician, it’s ironic that Washington DC itself is one of the main centers of the imbalance.

Washington DC has seen a boom in IT jobs in 2011
The DC area has experienced a steady decline in job opportunities since a slight peak in March of this year. Based on the number of jobs placed online by hiring companies and agencies, 2011 has ended badly for the capital’s job market.

But for Computer Systems Analysts, Web Developers, and Network and Computer Systems Administrators the outlook is much more positive.

A report this week from shows a significant increase in IT jobs in the area.

The trend is likely to continue into 2012. The question is what to do about it. As we’ve seen across the engineering industry, massive requirements for skills only create jobs if there are people with the right skills to fill them. Without the right skills available in the market, you have urgent open vacancies that contribute nothing to job creation.

Bridging the gap between mass unemployment and skill short market places is a problem with only one long term solution: training. The shortage in IT has been self created. When healthcare companies – one of the areas at issue - moved to 1099 contractors instead of retaining their in house talent, they lost the skills they need with familiarity and experience of their organization to get the job done.

There is clearly a major opportunity to retrain large numbers of unemployed workers if proper programs are put in place either by the government or by the private sector.

As demand increases, project delivery will only suffer more. It’s time to look seriously at retraining options.

In the meantime, IT professionals would be well advised to pack a bag and head for DC.