Technology talent crisis looming: Deloitte

Prepare for an immediate talent shortage is the message from this year's Deloitte Technology Fast 500 CEO Survey.

Prepare for an immediate talent shortage is the message from this year's Deloitte Technology Fast 500 CEO Survey.

Baby boomers, who make up the heart of the technology sector, are retiring by the score -- particularly in management. Companies are scrambling to find and retain the next generation of talent to plug the gap: "CEOs have made it their top personal challenge to develop the next generation of leaders" said the report.

The survey says the looming crisis "has the potential to make the dot- com talent crunch of the late 1990s look like a walk in the park". The majority of CEOs from Europe and North America placed "finding- quality employees" as the most important factor in maintaining growth, and a clear majority of CEOs world wide said that the first key operational challenge in the next year was "Finding, hiring and retaining qualified employees".

"Technology companies, which rely heavily on top talent to drive innovation, will suffer especially from this global problem" said Deloitte technology media and telecommunications industry group leader, Damian Tampling who thinks that the shortage will become a crisis for the industry for decades to come, particularly in Australia.

The problem is leading managers to look at existing methods in a new way for solutions: "As a result, we are seeing that views on offshoring have changed substantially. Offshoring is now not seen as cut-rate labour supply, but as a valuable source of talent that is not available back home." Tampling said. More than half of CEOs in the Asia-Pacific region said that finding talent offshore was either 'critical' or 'very important'.

The report indicated a wide spread of programs being put in place by managers to entice talent and keep them happy in the workplace. Most popular was financial participation programs, such as stock offers, particularly in the United States and Asia. Internal leadership training programs, focus on 'career growth plans' and employee perks such as flexible working hours were also popular choices. According to the report "what employees really want is a company that helps them develop their capabilities, deploys them on assignments that fit their skills and interests, and helps them connect with others through meaningful relationships."

Deloitte Technology Fast 500 CEO Survey is a review of what CEOs of the fastest growing 500 companies world wide over the past twelve months expect the next year to bring.

The survey also asked what areas CEOs thought would see the most growth in the coming year, with Internet and intellectual property being a clear leader in CEO's minds world wide, with wireless technology and business software also popular.