September 21, 2011:
Every week I find myself in a dialogue with clients and candidates about a very common topic, skills demand. My clients are very interested in knowing how much talent exists in Portland metro; skills in software, hardware, C#, java, SQL, Oracle, etc. and their availability. Candidates are asking how highly sought after their skills are. This led us to put a talent temperature gauge on our website. Over the coming months, as we collect more data, we will show trend lines from previous months.
These simple questions are at the very root of a community’s micro-economic structure. Simply put from the client: “If I want to grow or scale my business, are there enough people in town to support it? How much will it cost?” From the candidate: “If I want to change employers will I be able to do it? How quickly can I make this transition? Are there cool companies/opportunities, and can I get more $$?”
I have found that my response to these questions around supply and demand of talent swings as the local and national economy thrives or slips into a contraction mode. It only makes sense. While certainly my point of view and experience is relatively localized to Oregon and SW Washington on the demand side (companies seeking people), we have always had to look in and out of this region to find enough supply (people with skills). While I recognize that quite literally this discussion is different from one “job market” to the next, I think it is very fair to say, from our experience at EnGn in 2011, the pendulum has swung back to a position where the “talent” is in a position of power within the software, semi-conductor and I.T. fields.
What does that mean? Companies must first recognize that even though unemployment is at 9.1%. that Software, Hardware, or large I.T. shops must be careful not to fall behind the curve. For the two and a half years, prior to the middle of 2010, wages have been relatively flat. Demand had not created the need or economic impetus to drive wages or contractor labor rates up. My personal experience is that is no longer the case. We are seeing clients hold tight to recessionary contract or consulting rates even though the demand for talented contractors has continued to outpace full time permanent openings. Admittedly, my colleagues and clients on the direct/permanent employment have been quicker to respond and compete. THIS means to invest in recruiting, as well as your partnerships with talent suppliers. Prepare your interviewing team to sell your opportunity once they believe they have identified someone who fits. Act quickly without jeopardizing your selection process. Frothy skills like Mobile applications development, whether for Droid or i-phone, need to be well thought out and expect very strong competition.
EnGn has many competitors in the Portland area. Companies like Edgelink
, Vanderhouwen & Associates
, Mainz Brady, Kforce, Brentwood Group
, Pamela Jones, MRI, ATSI, etc. I list them freely because Generator Group
, our parent company being around for over 10 years, and EnGn with its new focus exclusively on technology, will put its model up against any of them. In the next couple weeks I will share how to select a good firm if your company has very aggressive growth goals. This will not be your traditional sales pitch but a fairly revealing look at the inner workings of a multi-service recruiting firm and what makes them tick. I will also give clear business logic on why even with 3+ agencies signed up to work on your jobs companies, you can experience getting very few candidates if any at all.