Bright spots for tech in a dark economic picture

Bright spots for tech in a dark economic picture

The outlook for employment, particularly in the tech sector, is not as dismal as first thought

All about relationships

Another area where companies need to maintain a steady supply of talent is in customer relationship management (CRM). Maintaining good relationships with customers is integral to a company's success, especially when a slumping economy is prompting consumers and businesses to curb their spending.

A recession is no time to be losing customers, and gaining new ones can be difficult. The last thing a business wants or needs is for its customers to become dissatisfied and jump ship for a competitor.

That said, highly skilled tech workers are needed to maintain the CRM software and programming that companies such as SAP have made available. And there's currently a shortage of these workers. For example, the demand for SAP talent currently outweighs the supply by more than 30,000 workers. Recruiters simply cannot find people to fill these roles fast enough.

In today's slowdown, many businesses are retaining their high-tech talent and looking to hire and to expand their technology budgets. According to the last bimonthly CDW IT Monitor, 25 percent of midsize businesses are planning to hire more IT workers. What's more, the number of midsize companies expecting to increase IT budgets reached 64 percent, an increase of 10 percentage points since April.

Growing in the middle

A recent report from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) also found that companies in the middle market (those with 100 to 1,000 employees) are looking to bring in new technology talent to take their businesses to the next level of technical sophistication.

Many of these companies, which post yearly revenues of US$50 million to $2 billion, are holding strong and even operating in growth mode through the economic downturn. Businesses in this range often have a different perspective than smaller or larger companies, which may experience the effects of economic turmoil more directly or severely.

Many midsize companies are not publicly held, which means management can run the business without worrying about the effect on company stock or investor sentiment. In addition, cuts in IT spending are not nearly as dramatic as they are elsewhere in the economy. Companies are willing to invest more in hopes of emerging from the downturn ahead of their competitors.

CompTIA also found that 60 percent of midsize companies are looking to beef up their supply of networking talent; 57 percent are planning to hire tech experts in security, and 48 percent want to increase the number of staffers with skills in nonspecific server technology.

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