Manuel Villa, president and founder of Via Technology, a 27-year-old San Antonio-based solution provider that’s focused on building IoT solutions, is vexed by the current shortage of tech talent.
“It’s an amazing situation right now. We’re so busy with projects and we’re having a hard time finding the right resources. It’s been a real challenge,” Villa said.
Forbes in a September report said that 54 percent of companies globally are experiencing a talent shortage.
In the United States, the shortage is being heavily linked to the Great Resignation, in which an average of 3.98 million Americans left their jobs each month during 2021. The trend picked up steam in early 2021, but the numbers of employees voluntarily leaving their jobs in the last two months of the year and in the first month of 2022 have continued to climb as people reassess their work and personal lives as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The IT industry is not immune. Research firm Gartner found that 31 percent of employees in the IT space actively sought out a new job between July and September 2021. A report from training company Global Knowledge said that 76 percent of global IT decisionmakers reported critical skills gaps on their teams.
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Via Technology is getting creative in its approach to finding new talent using platforms like LinkedIn and Indeed. The firm is also tapping its own employees for recommendations for potential candidates to expand its network. It’s not just skills the company is looking for – it’s the “ganas” factor, Spanish for “will” or “desire,” Villa said.
“We hire based on what you know you can do. If you have the will, your part of our team. We can teach you everything else,” he said.
For construction based IoT projects, Via is hiring local laborers, recently discharged military personnel re-entering civilian service, and folks being released from the criminal justice system in San Antonio. “We’re out there every single day looking for the people that have the will,” Villa said.
The current talent shortage is impacting both vendors and channel partners in the IT industry alike, solution providers told CRN.
“It’s a huge issue,” said Tanaz Choudhury, president of Tanches Global Management Inc., a Houston-based IT solutions provider. “I’m realizing that I’m not alone with this – it’s a big issue for everyone.”
The shortage, however, is creating the perfect environment to focus diversity and bringing new voices and faces to the table, a concept that’s not new to Tanches, a woman-owned and minority-owned business, Choudhury said.
David Weeks, senior director of partner experience at Burlington, Mass.-based N-able, said not only is the vendor looking for talent but their partners are wanting their help in securing good talent.
“We’re doing a lot around automation because it can reduce the need for a full-time employee,” he told CRN. “That’s what we’re doing on automation, giving our partners what they’re asking for which is more scalability and more elasticity.”
In the last quarter N-able brought in about 75 new people, Weeks said.
“We want the right people in the right roles,” he said. “So, we‘re willing to wait and our teams, internally, are very dynamic to take on the load if needed.”
N-able has seen consistent growth that Weeks said goes hand-in-hand with the amount of people that are being brought in.
“Would we like to get them in faster? Yes. But we‘d rather wait and get the A player then take a seat just because it’s available,” he said.
The Great Resignation
The talent shortage is also being connected to “the Great Renegotiation,” a phenomenon that’s developed over the last two years as employees realize labor shortages have given them some leverage over their working conditions and salary. While the talent shortage is more evident in lower-wage sectors, one major driver of Americans leaving their jobs has been tied to employees being less willing to accept certain working conditions that many may have accepted prior to the pandemic, such as inflexible work hours or the inability to work from home.
That flexibility, said Choudhury, has led to some individuals taking on more than one job at a time and in some cases, not be able to fully commit to one role. “I‘m affected by the lack of integrity. It hit me pretty hard when I found out about it for the first time,” she said.
Tanches has always recruits new talent through local search options, such as Monster.com and Indeed.com. a process that the firm is still using today for employment.
“We‘re looking for people that are able to join our team and hopefully be on-site. I think it’s really important to have that team building,” she said. “Of course, during COVID, when you can‘t, you can’t and I don’t expect people to show up to work, but when things are settled down and you have the ability to come back together and regroup, it’s nice to refocus together.”
Jim O’Driscoll, vice president of sales at cloud distributor Sherweb, said they’re experiencing the same as everybody else.
“There‘s a ton of turnover. There’s always the: “I can get more money somewhere else,’” he said. “There’s a number of things we do for our employees to keep them happy and committed. But it’s the same battle all the time. How do you get good talent? How do you keep good talent?”
Michael Slater, head of sales and marketplace at Sherweb, said what differentiates the firm is that it’s “a big small company.”
“When I first joined the company [in 2018] it would have been about 300 people, and now it‘s almost 1500,” he said. “We’re small enough to care about people and know most of the people that we work with. It‘s a little bit different for us but you can’t package and sell that. I can’t go and say, ‘Be smaller, be this big, but not that big.’ We can’t really do that. But I definitely say it’s what really helps a lot.”