IT Jobs Market: What's Out There And How To Grab It12:00 PM EST Fri. Nov. 23, 2012
IT job growth has been heating up in a number of cities across the U.S. In a recent interview, VAR Staffing, a Richardson, Texas-based VAR consultant agency that specializes in IT channel recruitment and staffing, spoke with CRN's Scott Campbell about how Hurricane Sandy has spurred a hiring spike in which many VARs that had previously been on the fence about bringing on more full-time staff have decided to take the hiring plunge.
As part of CRN's new series examining hiring trends and job growth in the IT channel, we followed up with VAR Staffing experts Mark Bier, founding principal, and Todd Billiar, director of channel recruitment, to dig a little deeper into the IT job landscape. And, so far, the IT channel's job growth is getting better every day. "Top talent has never been in greater demand," Bier said.
From internships and contract work to permanent part-time and full-time positions, Bier and Billiar not only offer insight into these trends but also provide advice for IT job seekers on what they can do to land the type of job they want.
According to a Monster.com report, "United States Information Technology 2012 Job Conditions: Insights and Analysis from Professionals, Recruiters and Hiring Managers," internships and seasonal positions constitute less than 1 percent of the IT job postings. However, according to VAR Staffing's Bier and Billiar, they've begun noticing a change among VARs in the services sector, in which some solution providers are partnering with local school systems, looking to build their own "pipeline of talent."
"Not so much in the primary markets, but in the tertiary markets, we've talked to the VARs, and they've had such a hard time finding talent that they've been working with the local schools to provide training," Billiar said.
And, it's a win-win for both VARs and soon-to-be graduates. "As an education tool, this is a very intelligent way to go about that, especially if you're looking to grow organically. And, there is a very high correlation that those who intern will get an opportunity if they want."
Contract positions, according to Monster.com, make up 32 percent of the IT job postings, down from 35 percent in 2010, which Monster.com attributed to "minor improvements in the economy and [IT] industry." Although it's a small change, it's one that's been felt. "[VARs] were really focused on consultants. And, if they worked out, [they could] look at bringing them on full-time," Bier said. "But, if you take that mentality of 'I'm gonna try them before I buy them,' a lot of the viable candidates are going to say they already have full-time positions they're exploring."
That means contractors are in a unique position. "The advice I can give for the contract job seeker," Bier said, "is to make sure that it's something … you can put on your resume -- communication, migration to the new Cisco unified communication system. If you're doing something short term, let it be something for these emerging technologies." And, because contracting lends itself to gaining new skills quickly, it becomes important that candidates keep their info current. "Keep your information on LinkedIn updated," Bier stressed.
Permanent positions are on the rise. Monster.com reported that 68 percent of IT job postings were for permanent positions, either part-time or full-time. As such, VAR Staffing has noticed a shift within the hiring trends from the enterprise toward VARs as a result of larger companies looking to move to the cloud, reduce their footprint and cut costs. "We see an amazing demand for talent in the integrator space, the VAR space, the solution provider space," he said. "The strongest IT talent, the top technical talent, is moving away from enterprise more toward working for the integrator community."
For job hunters looking to move from contract to permanent positions, VAR Staffing stresses the importance of doing your homework. "For the permanent job seeker, there is a lot of opportunity out there. Be diligent in your process," Bier said. "You should be interviewing the opportunity as much as they are going to interview you. The worst thing that can happen with a permanent position is to get there for a month and realize that it's not at all what you thought it would be."
According to the Monster.com survey, of the permanent IT positions, part-time job postings account for a mere 2 percent. But, that same report shows that only 1 percent of IT resumes have their status identified as solely part-time. Although it's small, VAR Staffing says there's certainly a niche job market for part-timers. "There's definitely an interest in the market space and model," Billiar said, noting that some job seekers are looking for flexible work schedules that allow them not only freedom but also stability, such as parents trying to find a work-life balance, Billiar said.
For the permanent part-time job hunters, Billiar and Bier advise doing the legwork, researching both the position and company, and being up front about the number of hours they want. "[Part-time job seekers] need to highlight their skill sets and be clear on what they're looking for. As you're vetting the client and client is vetting you, be clear on the number of hours you want. The worst thing that could happen is you're looking for 20 hours, and the client's expecting to get 35," Billiar said.
For those seeking full-time permanent IT jobs, you're in luck. According to Monster.com, 98 percent of IT job postings were for full-time permanent positions. Previously, many companies were reticent about bringing on full-time staff; however, VAR Staffing has seen a drastic change in the IT job landscape in this regard. "We have absolutely, positively seen an uptick for full-time employment from our clients," Billiar said. "The workload is there."
For job hunters looking to land full-time positions, Bier emphasized the importance of being engaged throughout the interview process. "Don't let the interview process be a one-way street," he said. "The best interviews are two-way streets. The more information and research you bring to the interview the better." Make sure you come prepared with questions for the company, he added. "It shows diligence, and what you'll be as an employee," Bier said. He also stressed the importance of having a good online presence. "Keep your online presence updated. Keep your profile clean and current."