IT Employment

One view of today's IT job market

Scott Lowe shares some information he received from speaking with Russ Hearl, Director of Ecosystems and Partners for eLance.

One of the things I love about conferences is that you never know who you're going to run into and what you'll end up talking about.  This week, while walking from my hotel to the shuttle that would deliver me to the TechEd 2012 conference at the convention center in Orlando, I had the very good fortune to meet Russ Hearl, Director of Ecosystems and Partners for eLance.

eLance is a leading platform for online employment, which matches employers and projects with a global base of freelance workers. It provides quarterly updates based on what they're seeing on their site.  If you're interested in reading eLance's entire quarterly report, you can find that here.  I'm going to provide some highlights.

First, eLance is seeing massive quarter-over-quarter growth in the use of the company's services.  Given the state of the economy, this is not surprising.  The total number of jobs posted on eLance rose from 800,000 in Q1, 2009 to almost 2.3 million in the first quarter of 2012.  During the same period, cumulative contractor earning rose from just under $200 million to more then $557 million.  The site currently has 1,556,824 registered contractors.

eLance breaks down their posted jobs in some interesting ways, but we can see where there is growth (and decline) pretty easily.  Although these are quarter over numbers, these changes can signal the beginning of a trend in either direction.  For example, you can see that Flash jobs have declined by 16% while people seeking help with iPad development have posted jobs 20% more than previously.

Although eLance has jobs that span the IT realm, it appears as if the majority of the opportunities are in the development realms.  That said, there are jobs available for network administrators, database administrators, writers, engineers and more.

Jobs going unfilled

During my discussion with Mr. Hearl, he indicated that a great number--upwards of 10%--of jobs posted on eLance go unfilled for various reasons.  Sometimes, there just isn't someone available that can perform a particular task, but in many cases, employers are also asking too much for too little.  That is, employers aren't paying enough in some cases.  Additionally, some employers aren't adept at writing good requirements, which could lead to confusion about what is actually expected.

So far, for 2012, here are the skills that are being requested for which employers are having difficulty locating contractors:

  • SQL Server
  • Windows
  • Microsoft Sharepoint
  • Internet Security
  • Technical Support
  • Scripts & Utilities
  • Network Administrator
  • VOIP
  • Network Programming
  • FTP

What CIOs want

I asked Mr. Hearl about what eLance is seeing as top jobs for hire on eLance and where CIOs may need to be focusing when it comes to identifying skill sets for tomorrow.  Mr. Hearl was kind enough to compile for me some information about the state of the job market as seen through eLance's filter.

eLance conducted a survey of CIOs asking them to identify the skills that they needed most on their current teams.  The list below is the top 20 of the responses by these CIOs for 2012:

  • SQL Server
  • Windows
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Internet Security
  • Scripts & Utilities
  • Technical Support
  • Network Administrator
  • FTP
  • System Programming
  • VOIP
  • Internet Information Services (IIS)
  • Security Engineer
  • Security Analyst
  • Network Specialist
  • TCP/IP
  • Web Security Manager
  • Networking Design
  • Network Engineer
  • VPN
  • System Analysis

Most of these are not that surprising.  SQL skills are always hard to find, as are good SharePoint people.  I was surprised to see such skills as FTP and TCP/IP in the list, though.

What about you?  Are these technical skills that you're find it difficult to address in your own organization?  What other skills are you finding it difficult to acquire?

About

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

9 comments
steve_landess
steve_landess

There is much visa fraud being perpetuated by Indian bodyshops such as Infosys. The Jay Palmer case is just the tip of the iceberg - ALL of the Indian firms are committting visa fraud by bringing their billable workers into the U.S. on B-1 visas - they school them on what to say when entering the country so that they won't be caught and sent home. It is easy to identitfy these consultants - they come in for 3 months and then go back home to India. B-1 visas are typically issued for a 3 month period.

ittechexec
ittechexec

It's interesting that these positions don't include infrastructure positions, including virtualization, and cloud computing. I guess that's because eLance focuses on contract and temp positions. Still, I would have thought they'd be in higher demand.

erh7771
erh7771

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCbFEgFajGU ...until displacement laws are enforced then claims of there being any type of market shortage of skillets on it's face seem to serve an agenda. It's explained in the video to make sure to post some really narrow skillet to disqualify US workers. Investing in training of a person is also a good way to fill needs of narrow skilled positions especially ones that cross specific skills sets. Your take?

Professor8
Professor8

Thank you for a rather obvious look into today's dysfunctional job markets. eLance focuses on temp gigs, in this case bodies shopped without the shop. The site currently has 1,556,824 bodies in its stable. What CIOs most waaannnnnt: MSFT garbage MSFT garbage MSFT garbage internet security scripts and utilities (that basically any bright HS grad could do) tech support (that basically any bright college freshman could do with a couple days training) network admin (that basically any bright college sophomore or junior could do with a couple weeks of training) FTP (which any high school student could do) System Programming (which many bright college sophomores could do) VOIP (great, 20 year old tech!) MSFT garbage more security more security network specialist (could be something a college sophomore could do or it might require a college senior) TCP/IP (more 30 year old tech, but see network specialist) more security network design (see network specialist) network engineer (see network specialist) VPN (fuggedaboudit! if you want a private network, make a private network and don't pretend any network riding on the Internet could be "private") system analyst (many bright college sophomores, juniors and seniors are quite capable of doing this)

macmanjim
macmanjim

unicorns. I don't know if it's because they want to cut down on responses or incompetence in knowing what is needed, but I've seen more of it in the last year or two. It's gotten absurd in some cases.

dba88
dba88

How is off-shoring impacting hiring and how is it impacting salaries in the US?? Is there any way we can put a stop to it, or are the business lobbies and the immigration law lobbies too powerful to stop it?? This question applies to both H1B as well as L1 visas.

reggaethecat
reggaethecat

I have probably 10 or more of those skills listed, I think I may go freelance...

Scott Lowe
Scott Lowe

I think you're probably right. It seems like it would be more difficult for these kinds of positions to be placed under short-term contract. A more broadly-focused survey might reveal some additional insight here. Scott

Professor8
Professor8

Domestic (within country) and cross-border bodyshopping as well as off-shoring need to be examined more conscientiously by the tech media, as well as student (F and F+OPT), E-3, H-1B, J, and L-1 visas. And those examinations need to continue to be conducted and reported on a regular basis as reforms and perversions are appplied. They negatively impact advertising of job openings, selection processes, interviewing, relocation, hiring, retention, compensation (wages/salaries, vacation, insurance, wellness programs, stock & stock options, per diem...), working conditions, and investments in training and education. Indirectly, they negatively impact economies and standards of living in the USA, UK, Europe, Canada, and probably Japan.

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