How I Went In Search Of The IT Gap


OK, we all know the story, or at least those of us trying to hire people with IT skills do – there’s not enough people out there to hire! We can’t find anyone. Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria, and those empty desks that should be filled with busy geeks.

If you haven’t heard this complaint you’re A) lucky, B) ignorant, C) a liar, or D) better at hiring than a lot of people – a whole lot of people.

For over a year I’ve been hearing that there’s some kind of IT hiring gap. This isn’t new of course, complaint about some kind of “skills gap” goes back for years in many fields.  I think I’ve been hearing about this for about four years, even when unemployment was higher.

However among these claims I’d occasionally hear a dissenting voice. That there’s not a gap, or that these claims were ways to get in cheap H1B visa employees, or someone had no trouble in hiring and just thought this was BS.  It made me wonder if this is for real.

Let’s face it, it’s important to know what the heck is actually going on in IT.  IT is vital to the economy.  It’s  close to we geeks who are so tied to technology industries and areas. Some of us want a damn job and we’d like to know what’s going ob.  Some of us are trying to hire people and want to know why it isn’t working.  If this gap is BS then people claiming there is one are ignorant, deceptive, or both and we’ like to know.

So is there an IT Gap, where we don’t have enough people to do the IT jobs of today?

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Mind The Recruitment Gap

In a recent conversation about HR and recruiting, an acquaintance and I discussed the ‘age’ gaps in recruiting – namely, how a gap in ages between recruiter and recruit could negatively affect communication.  Such an issue makes sense as it’s basically a generation/demographic gap, of course, so we mentioned it and went on with our conversation.  We accepted such a gap as normal.

When we parted, that conversation stuck in my mind.  Such a gap seemed normal to us.  So what other gaps, I speculated, were out there that seemed normal – and we were so used to them it was, in fact a problem in recruiting and job seeking?

Very quickly, many, many gaps between recruiter and recruitee sprung to mind.  As I review, I can think of many:

  • The Age Gap – Obvious.  It may be hard to communicate with people due to different cultural experiences.
  • The Economic Gap – Now part of the age gap, a few years of difference means people grew up in radically different economies.  This affects people’s ideas of jobs, what they’re seeking, and how well they’ll trust others.  It also affects ability to move.
  • The Technology Gap – Is gaping in many cases, as even a few years difference may mean people have greatly differing technical experiences.  This makes it harder for people to understand and fill jobs – and understand when a lack of one skill is made up for in another.
  • The Geek Gap – Geek may be chic, but still there’s a difference in people who are geek/less geeky.  This is further amplified by technical gaps, meaning both gaps combine can create a situation where two people rarely understand each other.
  • The Regional Gap – The economic and cultural gaps, in my experience, have made regional divisions even wider.  Ever feel like someone from another city/state is speaking a different language?  You’re probably right.

What am I trying to do by listing these?  Frankly, looking at the things that may keep recruiters and recruitees from actually speaking the same language.  It’s more meditation for you and I, my readers, than anything else.

What do I find as Iook at this?  Actually I’m a bit disturbed.  I can see a lot of these acting synergistically to create insanely huge levels of misunderstanding among intelligent people.  Frankly, this makes me amazed two people of largely different ages, across the country, in different fields can even talk about jobs together . . .

This is also a reminder that we have to bridge these gaps, be we recruiter, candidate, or someone like me who’s a busybody trying to make this work.  There’s a lot of different experiences that can separate us in the career world, so no matter who we are, we have to help bridge them.

Get to it . . .

Steven Savage