A recent Gartner study found that although most companies aren't planning to hire IT workers any time soon, those who are find it difficult to attract talent in a few key areas -- enterprise architecture, database administration, ERP programming and analysis, project management, Internet architecture and Web application programming.
These areas have proven difficult to staff because they demand not only specific technical expertise, but also an extensive understanding of business in general and the company's industry in particular, according to Lily Mok, vice president of CIO Workforce Management at Gartner.
IT professionals who focus on these areas aren't only hard to find, says Mok, they're also hard to retain. These specialties are in such demand that they often come with high pay scales, and even retention bonus programs to hold on to talent.
The shortage situation is a classic "demand and supply mismatch issue," she says. Contributing to the shortage is the fact that many IT organizations fail to plot out formal workforce plans to determine what skills they need today and, perhaps more importantly, tomorrow. This leads to companies not being able to train and develop existing workforce in time to meet their needs, and so they turn to consultants and other outsourcers to help them, which can prove expensive.
"To break this cycle, I think IT leaders first need to do better with their workforce planning, take a longer-term view, which gives them more options between buy vs. build workforce capabilities they need," says Mok.