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Finding and retaining good technical and sales talent has become a critical concern for VARs looking to grow their businesses as the economy improves.
More VARs are looking to hire full-time staff after looking more to engage contract workers for projects over the last couple years, according to Todd Billiar, director of channel development at VAR Staffing. Billiar spoke to CRN's Scott Campbell at ConnectWise's IT Nation 2012 conference in Orlando about hiring trends in the channel and what VARs – and employees—should expect in 2013. The following are excerpts from the conversation.
In the Northeast, we've heard that many solution providers are looking to add both full-time and contractor staff because they're seeing a spike in business following Hurricane Sandy. Are you seeing that same demand?
We've had a number of folks come up to us. There's a serious jump in workload and they need to add quickly.
Is that mostly contract work or are they looking to hire full-time?
Some I've talked to say 'I'm ready to grow.' They were borderline before the storm and that's pushed them over the top.
In what areas are you seeing demand for post-Sandy work?
Where we see the most demand is around virtualization, security practice, [system] architecting. Mid to higher-end positions.
I've talked to a lot of MSPs here at IT Nation and many of them mentioned how tough it is right now to find good talent. If they're having difficulties, how are you guys able to find the people to help them?
As economy is recovering, it's become easier. We don't run ads. You won't see ads from us on Monster.com or anywhere else. We use a proactive model. Because we have channel experience [Billiar worked at a VAR for many years], we truly understand what they are looking for. Our company was co-located inside a VAR in Dallas for 3 years. We go out and approach candidates who are working in the enterprise space. They're working for a large corporation or a very large VAR where there is not the mobility [to move up]. They want be more than a number. They're going out hoping to make a career move.
LinkedIn ran a survey of users and found that 80 percent if approached with the right opportunity would consider a move.
That's for permanent positions? What about for freelance jobs?
For contract positions, we have a database of more than 30,000 people.
Is most of the demand from VARs now for contract work or fulltime?
If you asked me that question last year, I'd say it was close to 50-50. Now it's probably 70 percent permanent and 30 contract. I think a lot of partners were not confident in the economy for full time hires so they would bring in contract hires. Now they're seeing sustained growth, sustained income, and they canjustify bringing in someone fulltime.
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