IT Professional Consultants Exodus From Corporate Life

See Part 1: Bright Future Ahead For Advanced IT Skills Professionals In Knowledge Economy

The emerging knowledge economy is both a high-skill and high-wage marketplace, and the needs of IT workers, who begin the telecommuting trend, provide insight to the needs of other workers as more and more professionals become independent professionals.

Why IT Departments are slow to Act

Although it is no news that increasing numbers of professionals are becoming independent workers, IT departments do not seem to perceive the true impact of this trend.  There is open resistance to this new workforce.  There are six key factors to this resistance.  They are:

  • Management Denial:

The term information technology was not widely used until just 20 years ago, and positions such as chief information officer (CIO) were not common until the early 90’s.  Compared with other departments in an enterprise, IT has just begun, and it is time for a radical revamping of the way work is done in this department.

  • Changing Role of IT:

IT departments are evolving from staff to strategic functions.  The products and services created by a single advanced skill IT worker can add millions of dollars to corporate revenues, according to Howard Rubin, a consultant and chairman of computer sciences at Hunter College in Pound Ridge, NY.  Rubin is quoted in Computerworld’s Special Report on the IT Workforce as saying that for every dollar spent on information systems salaries, a company can expect to generate $43 in revenues, or approximately $2.4 million per year per IT professional.  It is understandable why the salary of an advanced skill worker is many times the salary of other employees.

  • Workforce Retrofit Issues: 

The government has announced initiatives to increase the number of computer science graduates and to train mature workers such as women returning to workforce and engineers who have been downsized, but these educational processes will take 4 to 7 years to produce contributors with advanced, strategic skills. U.S. corporations cannot wait that long for a solution.

A relentless demand to get to market faster must be reconciled with the fact that the globe is becoming a knowledge economy in which services are compensated in proportion to their bottom-line value.  This is sharp contrast with the labor model U.S. businesses have used for the past 100 years.  Entry level IT workers today often have higher salaries than veteran employees whose functions have less bottom-line impact.

  • Half-life of Technology: 

With increasing pressure to compete, IT departments spend much of their time identifying, specifying and implementing new technology, which typically has a half-life of 12 to 18 months.  This creates a work environment that is reactionary rather than strategic and underscores even more the need for the outside help that is well versed in the newest technologies.

While the strategic business goals of any company cannot solely reside within the purview of technology, it is technology that is shaping many of these goals.  To ignore the impact that these new resources have already made on our daily lives is to ignore the future.

Technology has and will continue to re-shape the way we live, the divisions we make, the very essence of what makes us all so unique.

In the global business environment, business leaders need to plan and act decisively to adopt new strategies for the new workforce.  This resource management workforce strategy for the 21st century should be one that rewards core staff, embraces the independent flexible workforce, accepts a higher wage scale for strategic skills, and uses prudent, sophisticated resource portfolio management to match the best sourcing strategy for the required skill-set.

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