Where are all the ERP IT Specialists?

With an increase in the number of ERP projects being planned for, demand for IT professionals with ERP skills is increasing. As such these professionals are becoming harder to find. Why is this happening and how will shift in supply and demand impact IT Directors or Managers looking to resource their projects?

JD Edwards Marketplace

During the early buoyant days of the JDE market place there were always new customers who were embarking on new implementations which in turn fueled the growth of skilled resources. When the PeopleSoft and Oracle takeovers occurred their initial focus was to sell their own products, significantly reducing the number of JDE customers and starving the resource pool of new talent!

With the above and adding the fact that many of the experienced consultants have transferred their skills to other ERP applications or have now retired, it is no wonder why some clients find it difficult to get the right resources when they need them.

In the past few years Oracle have had a focused effort to increase new JDE sales. But with demand in the market place for these skilled resources in short supply, typically comes an increase in rates which is even more prominent when specialist skills like JDE World and RPG are becoming harder to find.

Other ERP Marketplace

With the ever increasing market places for SAP, Microsoft and other leading ERP applications there are many projects, be it new implementations or upgrades, taking place.

With all this activity in the market place candidates have more opportunities for their next career move. Employers that do not act quickly could run the risk of losing key personnel.

Companies will come under increasing pressure to offer longer contracts to freelance IT staff and to renew contracts more quickly than they have in the past if they want to retain resources that are key to their projects.

Lead times for contract renewals has increased and whereas companies used to be able to enter into renewal discussion 2-3 week before the end of a contract now they need to be looking at 4-6 weeks ahead.

As the market place becomes more active the number of contractors turning down renewals because of better offers elsewhere is likely to increase dramatically.

With confidence in the economy returning and internal projects being approved then the demand for permanent staff will also increase with JAVA, SQL, Unix, Microsoft Office, Cisco, and C++ are among the most sought after skills.

So what does this mean for IT Management with a list of projects to complete?

During times when demand is greater than supply the buyer, or in this case, the recruiter needs to be strategic in their approach to attract and secure people with the right skills.

Here are some tips for finding the elusive IT specialist:

1. Work exclusively with one specialist recruitment agency who is knowledgeable about the marketplace and resources available. If you choose to use multiple agencies, you’ll just end up with numerous CVs to read with only a handful of them meeting your requirements, which will not only waste your time but won’t provide you with any benefit over using a specialist.

2. Do not use an agency because they promise to find you a certain number of suitable candidates. Instead use an agency that promises to find you the right candidate.

3. Be specific in defining your requirements and make sure your agency understands these and your business well.

4. Ensure you offer a competitive salary and benefits package to secure the best candidate for the job.

5. Ask your agency to meet with each candidate before shortlisting to ensure the quality of candidate will meet your required standards.

Carry-out a detailed interview process to understand not only the skills of the potential candidate but also how they would fit into your organization. By getting the cultural fit right, you’ll minimise the risk of losing them further down the line.