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Management Strategies

11:35 AM
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The Tech Talent Shortage Myth

IT executives complain about not being able to find enough skilled workers, but they're overlooking the talent that's right around them.

At the annual conference of the Advanced Cyber Security Center (ACSC) last month, William Gruenther, the organization's founder and chairman, asked attendees how many of them were having a hard time finding the talent they need in cyber security. About half raised their hands.

Indeed, tech executives -- and information security executives in particular -- have been moaning a lot about not being able to find enough talented workers. According to a recent survey by the Technology Councils of North America, approximately 69% of US technology executives perceive a moderate to significant shortage of talent in the technology sector. Thirty-four percent indicate that it is likely that they will use more foreign workers, for example, through various work visa programs.

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Despite these reports, numerous underemployed technology professionals are loudly shouting that they are, in fact, available and capable, according to the InformationWeek report, IT Talent Crunch. The report describes a "purple squirrel" hiring tactic, whereby companies seek a job candidate whose mix of skills and experience is impossible to find; the tactic is purposely used to thin out the number of applicants.

While discussing corporate cultural challenges to cyber security and the so-called "talent shortage" at the ACSC conference, Akamai Technologies CSO Andy Ellis decried the purple squirrel hunters of company HR departments, citing ridiculous (but all-too-familiar) job requirements such as having 12 years' experience in Windows 8.

"If you have a [gender] diversity problem, this is why," Ellis blasted. Men "are totally willing to lie and say, 'Yeah, I've got 12 years' experience in Windows 8.'"

Read the full story on Network Computing.

Joe Stanganelli is founder and principal of Beacon Hill Law, a Boston-based general practice law firm. His expertise on legal topics has been sought for several major publications, including US News and World Report and Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine. Joe is also ... View Full Bio

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