Recruiters think left-field to tackle IT skills shortage

Employers may need to adjust their recruitment strategies to attract staff in areas of high-demand, according to a leading recruiter.Tackling areas of skills shortages, said Nathalie Swainston, IT consultant for recruiter Manpower Professional, takes some "thinking outside the box.

Employers may need to adjust their recruitment strategies to attract staff in areas of high-demand, according to a leading recruiter.

Tackling areas of skills shortages, said Nathalie Swainston, IT consultant for recruiter Manpower Professional, takes some "thinking outside the box."

Swainston said there is strong demand for candidates with skills in ERP, software engineers with skills in Java and .NET, developers and programmers with experience in deploying enterprise critical or secure Web-based solutions, and infrastructure project managers with experience in large scale migrations.

"Employers are looking for people that have reduced costs in a given area, or introduced a major successful technology change," she said. "Alongside that, they also want perfect communication skills and a great cultural and team fit."

Sean McCartan, business manager for IT at Manpower, says the banking and finance and outsourcing verticals in particular require communication and personal skills to compliment tech know-how.

"IT is becoming more business orientated," he said. "Candidates need some business acumen."

Attracting the ideal candidate is becoming increasingly tricky.

McCartan says there are fewer graduates coming through engineering and development courses -- leading recruiters to look elsewhere.

He recommends companies consider back-to-work programs for IT staff that have left the industry through redundancies, sabbaticals or maternity leave.

"You might convince them to return to work for 20 or 30 hours a week rather than 50 or 60," he said.

Recruiters are also having to "think outside the box" to recruit Gen Y candidates.

While a much larger percentage of recruiters still uses advertising such as MyCareer and Seek, Swaintson says today's Web-savvy recruiter might also consider campaigns that target the kinds of spaces where young IT creatives spend their time.

Tech-specific blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are now part of the IT recruiter's tool-set, she said.

"It's here that you tend to tap into those candidates who are only passively seeking work," she said.