Jun 12 2012   9:55PM GMT

Taking a risk on relocated or remote workers may be worth reward

Karen Goulart Karen Goulart Profile: Karen Goulart

If it feels like the IT talent pool is drying up, maybe it’s because you keep fishing from the same pond.

Think globally and acti locally is a fine mantra for the green set, but it simply doesn’t carry over when it comes to hiring the best people for your IT organization.  And yet, that’s what many CIOs are doing: trying to compete in a global market while limiting their search for new employees to the region in which their company resides.

The reason? Well, to twist a phrase: It’s the stupid economy. At least that’s what Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO at CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association), has come to believe after talking with IT leaders around the country in recent weeks. After hearing these folks bemoan the total dearth of job candidates with soft skills, project management experience and so forth, he asked how many of them kept their searches regional. The hands flew up. This, Thibodeaux said, is consistent with data around the country, which shows that companies are scared or unprepared to widen their nets because it might cost more money.

By and large, Thibodeaux noted, companies aren’t taking the time to reevaluate positions to identify jobs that could be done remotely — perhaps because they don’t have the infrastructure to support remote workers. Or, with many folks underwater on their mortgages, paying for a potential employee’s relocation becomes a scary prospect. But by avoiding the financial risks, these companies are missing out on great employees who could improve productivity and introduce skills that could wind up enhancing the company’s financial position.

“What we have right now are surpluses of skilled people in some parts of the country and deficits of skilled people in other parts of the country,” Thibodeaux said. “The thing for people to do is look nationally for talent, and if you find someone really good, either take the risk and relocate them or take the risk and let them work remotely; I’m not sure you have a tremendous amount to lose.”

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