How top CIOs are winning the battle for IT talent in a competitive market

Screen Shot 2019-07-04 at 3.43.42 PMNone of the items on the CIO’s agenda for digital transformation will succeed without a staff that can help co-invent the future of the business. But many CIOs say that they have a hard time competing for scarce talent in a world where tech giants like Amazon and Google seem to get the first pick. It’s clear that CIOs will need to work harder, and spend more time, on attracting talent than ever before, but they may lack the bold strategies required for today’s difficult talent environment.

My latest IDC report, “CIO Practices for Winning the Battle for IT Talent” ($$$$) compiles the best ideas from several CIOs for dealing with the stiff competition for IT talent. These executives look beyond conventional recruitment strategies; develop deep partnerships with universities; work differently with their HR partners; and streamline the hiring process.

The report is based on interviews with CIOs Thomas (Tom) McKee Jr. (at Kennametal Inc.); Adam Noble (formerly at GAF); Joseph (Joe) F. Eckroth Jr. (at TE Connectivity Ltd.); and Scott Names (at Church Mutual Insurance Co.).

For example, Joe Eckroth is proud of how quickly his team can go from interviewing a great candidate to providing the offer letter (he calls it “speed-to-hire”). And Scott Names created a unique IT Scholars Program, which essentially pays 100% of college tuition for IT majors and then guarantees an IT job at Church Mutual upon graduation.

My conclusion: The winners in the IT talent wars will be the CIOs who take more aggressive and more creative approaches than just showing up at a few job fairs.

Hiring managers discriminate against the long-term unemployed

“Employers statistically discriminate against workers with longer unemployment durations,” according to a labor-market study reported by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

The researchers sent fake résumés to 3,000 real, online job postings — noting the length of unemployment on the résumé — and then tracked the “callbacks” from employers. “The likelihood of receiving a callback for a job interview sharply declines with unemployment duration,” the NBER reported in its March 2013 Digest.

The effect is most pronounced in the first eight months after becoming unemployed, according to the study (NBER Working Paper No. 18387) by Kory Kroft, Fabian Lange and Matthew Notowidigo.

8 top business issues for ’08

No surprises here.  But it’s a nice restating of the obvious megatrends. From interviews with industry consultants at Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, here are eight business issues “that resonated across multiple industry sectors and could have a dramatic impact” this year:

  • Globalization
  • Convergence
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Rising Energy & Health Care Costs
  • Transparency
  • Technology Use & Integration
  • The 2008 Presidential Election
  • Talent Management

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Source: “2008 Industry Outlook: A Look Around the Corner,” Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, January 2008
The full report, with analyses for various industries, is available here.

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What CEOs worry about

The greatest concerns of U.S. CEOs
(% citing challenge as of “greatest concern”)

  1. Sustained & steady top-line growth (41.3%)
  2. Excellence in execution (39.6%)
  3. Consistent execution of strategy by top management (38.5%)
  4. Profit growth (29.9%)
  5. Customer loyalty/retention (25.6%)
  6. Finding managerial talent (20.9%)
  7. Top management succession (20.1%)
  8. Corporate reputation (19.7%)
  9. Stimulating innovation/creativity (19.2%)
  10. Speed, flexibility, adaptability to change (18.2%)

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Base: Survey of 409 U.S. CEOs
Source: The Conference Board “CEO Challenge 2007” (4 October 2007)

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Top HR challenges (hint: they include acquiring, retaining and grooming key talent)

Ranked list of the top HR challenges (in North American business)

  1. Acquiring key talent/lack of available talent
  2. Building leadership capability
  3. Driving cultural and behavioral change in the organization
  4. Retaining key talent
  5. Increasing line manager capability to handle people-management responsibilities
  6. Succession planning
  7. Constraints on headcount (“making do with less”)
  8. Increasing workforce productivity
  9. Lack of consensus about the organization’s strategy/direction
  10. Encouraging organizational innovation
  11. Resourcing and managing HR issues in “new geographies” for the company
  12. Managing human capital during and after an acquisition or merger
  13. Implementing people changes resulting from changes due to operational performance
  14. Workforce planning
  15. Measuring the contribution of human capital to business performance
  16. Reducing overall human capital costs
  17. Coping with an aging workforce

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Base: Survey of 154 senior HR professionals in the U.S. and Canada
Source: “The State of HR Transformation,” North America, Mercer Human Resource Consulting, 2006
Discovered via Workforce Management (10 September 2007)