Tech & Work

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.

< ![endif]—> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE < ![endif]—> < ![endif]—> < ! /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-fareast-font-family:Calibri; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";} —> 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...

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