Mind the Gap

Updated: Sep 16, 2019

This popular expression resonates as a great title because (1) it's catchy and (2) it's a warning of something we may not see. Gaps are generally not good, but can be avoided if we take the time to read the signs. Three existing gaps are growing in the IT industry that need our focus in 2019: the Skills Gap, the Compensation Gap, and the Stakeholders Gap.


THE SKILLS GAP

The gap that has received the most attention over the past decade is the "skills gap" -- the shortage of tech talent in the industry. In essence, supply can't keep up with demand. Demand is increasing because companies are rightly leveraging technology not only as a driver of efficiency and productivity, but also as their competitive advantage (and a key to long-term durability). This mounting dependency on technology is requiring larger numbers of employees with specific skillsets. Those skillsets can potentially change faster than training and curriculum can keep up, so the supply of that talent can't be sourced from schools and universities alone.


With demand so high for a shrinking workforce, recruitment and acquisition must be at their top game. Highly-skilled people need to be a part of the process, but ironically, recruiting is often conducted without engineering and technology experts present. The effects of the supply-demand challenge are compounded. Without using and training internal talent to find great talent, potential candidates will be lost to more responsive companies. Great recruiting is not a standalone solution to bridging the skills gap.


THE COMPENSATION GAP

Top technologists all reach a point where their increased delivery and value in an organization can no longer be matched with increased compensation, unlike management roles. This gap of compensation is growing bigger because most HR organizations won't or can't consider hiring at these salary levels, nor can they increase salaries for their own top talent as individual contributors.


To HR's credit, compensation must be congruent to the compensation schedules for other roles, or else they "rock the boat." Once every 3-5 years, most orgs attempt to re-calibrate payrates. But technology compensation is demanding a faster turnaround, and this shows up in today’s loss of talent via three observed ways: (1) talent tiptoes out the top (2) the applicant pool for open reqs is woefully shallow, and (3) the talent level of applicants that IT does need don't accept the offer.


The initial reaction to outsource is a misstep that can increase a business's dependency on an unknown party and even fuel an existing talent loss. 'Staffing up' creates new communication problems, ignores the law of diminishing returns, and can result in an overall lower quality of deliverables. Instead, IT organizations are smartly leveraging IT partners to grow and augment their internal org's talent.


The Compensation Gap is a new type of challenge for both HR and IT -- it contributes to the Skills Gap, and both of these first two ultimately contribute to a third gap: a Stakeholders Gap.



THE STAKEHOLDERS GAP

Third-party research firms like Gartner have called out a third gap across the industry: the growing gap between IT and its business stakeholders. Is technology seen as an active enabler of the business strategy? Can in-house IT deliver a technology that enables the business? As expertise retires and talent shrinks, IT organizations are having a tough time delivering projects on-time and on-budget. This strains the relationships between IT and its stakeholders, who experience process suffocation and an overall lack of agility.


The stakeholder gaps are widening to rifts for companies that have lost trust in execution of business strategy. These same gaps are successfully being bridged by enterprise IT organizations that have addressed the aforementioned skills and compensation gaps in their company are delivering at the speed of their business. The investment in increased IT talent levels brings returns in the form of on-time project delivery, business enablement, and healthier stakeholder relationships.


The right IT partners know that project-ready experts, embedded within the workplace for high-bandwidth and delivery, can share and grow existing team member skillsets even as they meet deadlines, creating a new way to bridge the skills gap. Both traditional and progressive IT organizations are leveraging this talent partnership to keep them on-budget and on-track to deliver for their business (and keeping stakeholders very happy). Trusting partners like us to handle compensation (we do it better than anybody) and the supply of top talent, your business demand can be met with new confidence.


At Kitestring, we define top talent as individuals that possess more than just certifications -- our people have enough experience and knowledge of their area that they are leaders, self-starters, mentors, and have project experience with which they hit the ground running. We provide you access to higher levels of technology talent, because we've seen that for the past 20 years it is the best way to narrow and navigate these gaps, together. Visit our website and reach out to us to learn more about partnering.

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