Monday, June 4, 2012

Hiring in IT is really tough these days

A recent short piece in NetworkWorld cited a study performed by staffing firm Manpower Group notes that engineers and IT staff are among the hardest positions to fill.

This has certainly been out experience at ICPSR over the past six to eight months.  We posted a position in November and another in December and have yet to fill them.  Both are more senior positions, one a software developer and the other a systems architect.

My experience is that technology positions at ICPSR are some of the hardest to fill.  When ICPSR hires data managers at the entry level, there are usually many good candidates in the pool, including former temps and interns.  And when we fill more senior positions in those ranks, it is usually from within (e.g., a promotion from a mid-level data manager to senior-level, or into a supervisory or management positions).  But when the technology shop needs to fill a position, it is nearly impossible to hire from within.  ("Do you know Java?  Or how to manage a firewall?"  "No, but I have a background in Political Science and know how to use SAS.")

It could be worse, though.  Creating and filling director-level positions in our archives is probably the most difficult job.  In this case we're looking for someone who can manage a small team of professionals, manage a relationship with a government agency, and manage a portfolio of grants and contracts.  The ideal candidate is also successful in academia, but not so successful that they have no interest in pausing (or greatly shrinking) their research endeavors.  And it would also be great if they worked at ICPSR only part-time, keeping an appointment at some other university.  And be willing to be in the office in Ann Arbor a few days a week.  And....

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