All over the country, the demand for qualified tech talent is soaring and the supply is simply not there to meet it. In Maryland and the mid-Atlantic region in general, firms in search of IT talent are turning to new and innovative means of attracting their next star employees. In a recent article in the Baltimore Sun, tech job candidates that were once struggling to get noticed on the major job boards and through various resume-submission sites are now being sought out directly by firms that are very eager to acquire their services. In order to attract the top-level IT candidates, firms are making investments to improvements in their corporate culture and steadily increasing the salaries associated with their open positions.
The needs themselves have evolved as well. In the late 1990s, the most popular positions were often associated with Web development and design and everyone with those skill sets was being pursued by multiple firms. With the maturation of the Internet and the technologies shortening the learning curve for Web developers, those same people are no longer as sought after by employers. Instead, there is a growing need for highly specialized talent in a number of mature technologies as well as a need for skilled technicians in some up-and-coming technologies such as Duet, a new software recently released by Microsoft and SAP.
According to the Yoh Index of Technology Wages, ‘wages for highly-skilled technology workers had increased 1.7 percent by the second quarter of 2006, when compared to the same quarter in 2005.’ The weather is hot this summer and so are wages for high-impact, seasoned professionals in the technology market, says Jim Lanzalotto, Vice President of Strategy and Marketing for Yoh. It’s not unusual for wages in general to follow slow spring and summer hiring trends, but technology wages still held on strong and continue to surpass pay from 2005. Top talent have every reason to stay confident about the job market – demand for high-level skills and deep-rooted industry experience is higher than ever but unbalanced with the shortage of talent to fill available positions. We should keep an eye out for more competitive wages to come from a hungry marketplace in the fall and winter of 2006. According to the Yoh Index, hardware engineers earned an average of $69.01 per hour during the first quarter of 2006, while Java developers earned $59.06 per hour. Not bad rates on average.
Some of the Mid-Atlantic’s most prestigious tech employers are turning to local career fairs and entrepreneurial competitions to help identify and acquire some the region’s top tech talent. In Baltimore, the popular business plan competition that is sponsored by the Greater Baltimore Technology Council is referred to as the Mosh Pit. Since 2002, the Mosh Pit has brought together the best young business minds in the area to submit their business ideas in the hopes of attracting capital investors. Although many of the ideas never see any infusion of VC funding, local employers have realized that there are bright and capable minds among the contestants. The contestants at the competition essentially become the prizes for the savvy employers that are able to attract their talents to their firms.
As the scramble to find the best tech talent continues, employers will undoubtedly be forced to find more unique and creative ways to attract and acquire the test IT employees.