Sunday, August 12, 2007

The IT Attraction Factor

Yesterday I read an article about the petroleum industry in British Columbia, Canada and their plight to get skilled workers in an environment that much like the tech industry is realizing an increasingly unmanageable shortage. As with many other situations they figured if they threw more money at the workers the problems would disappear. And as such people are finally waking up to the fact that this is not working. Why? It's more simple than you'd think. These people were not connecting with the community, the "workplace" was lacking in providing current and prospective workers with a social environment that not only gave them the connectivity they desired to keep them they were not clear at all on what it was that motivated them in the first place , and in the short term they were and are leaving or not even attracted to the positions in an way whatsoever. Even heaping on more money wasn't having any positive impact.

The IT industry is looking down the same rabbit hole. A shortage of over 3 million IT workers is looming in the next few years and as a partner in an IT firm we see the shortage and how it is affecting business opportunities and growth all over. This in turn slows down the adoption of new technology and increasing productivity. Worse I see the pillaging that goes on of skilled workers in our industry. It's accepted but its of no benefit to the consumer nor partners in the long run.

The sadder issue is that in the IT industry the last thing you need is skilled workers and in some cases leaders leaving the pack to move onto something more satisfying. Interestingly and disheartening is the number of women leaving our industry is on the increase again, enough to have articles popping up everywhere trying to decipher the problem and offering up nothing in the way of solutions. Most of these are being written by men who were frankly not even aware of the issue, but were curious enough to tackle the topic. Thank you. Your curiosity is a valid support of our mission.

In an industry that is developing technology to make our lives easier, to increase productivity, to keep us connected and with possibilities for any number of careers in so many business segments even beyond IT firms themselves, women are waving the white flag and disappearing and we can't seem to attract new ones in any significant numbers, nor do we really have solid recruitment programs in place. Actually the bigger picture tells us we haven't got the courses out there either to fill the large numbers required to satisfy our employer hungry market with specifically skilled IT people, based on rising demands from buyers of this technology.

So with all these issues where do we begin? First let's identify and pinpoint the real problems and put some careful thought as to who and what we need to address. That's where the WIL&T group comes in. Working with industry leaders at Microsoft who see the picture much in the same vein way we do and who are as affected by the results as their partners, we will start to look at current research and with partner and employee participants from all over the globe and from every IT sector, we can develop a plan to help the industry take corrective measures to remedy the tide of departures and display the wonderful opportunities the industry gives to females of all ages. Moreover we can change the way we work and find ways to take advantage of technology to give us what technology has always meant to provide us with , time to be ourselves.

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