I certainly don't know the details behind the legal suit Canadian-based Softchoice filed against solution provider rival En Pointe for hiring a number of its employees, but I do know one thing: Talent is scarce and these types of disputes are in danger of hitting epidemic proportions.
Softchoice's general counsel claims En Pointe likes to hire Softchoice employees because of the training investment it makes in them. My bet is she's 100 percent correct and, if it's a case of sales talent, it's also because of the relationships the reps have with customers.
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First and foremost, companies such as IBM have been very vocal in pointing out the lack of technical talent available in the market. The number of engineers graduating from North American universities is far less than necessary to fill the demand. This is one of the reasons virtually every CEO in high-tech has been pressuring the government to relax its H-1B visa restrictions.
So the talent that is available is highly sought after. Now let's add a couple of other pressure points to the mix. First off is the fact that technology solutions are getting more complicated, requiring multiple technologies and multivendor product sets to deliver a complete answer. So it isn't enough to be good in a narrow area any longer. Solution providers need to have a broad-based group of experts. That's all been well-established by research data from Everything Channel.
But now we have the worldwide economy working against us as well. Is there any doubt that we are heading toward a period of wage inflation? Despite the fact that the government doesn't take energy costs into its core inflation calculation, the cost of oil is driving up the cost of living in every area. It's especially true in North America where most goods are shipped via truck, not rail, and most commuters get to work by driving a car with no one else on board. So food and clothing, not to mention essentially everything else we all buy, are becoming more expensive.
And what's going to happen when the North American winter sets in and workers are paying $4.50 a gallon for gasoline and at least that much for a gallon of heating oil? There is flat out going to be pressure on every employer to raise wages above the core inflation rate or risk losing employees to a higher bidder.
We are headed toward a perfect storm in the talent pool, and your best defense is going to be figuring out now how to keep the workforce you have happy enough to stay.
Do you see a perfect storm heading our way?
Make something happen. E-mail Everything Channel CEO Robert Faletra at firstname.lastname@example.org.