Will There Be a Shortage of Small Business Tech Workers in 2012?

Does your small business rely on high-tech workers to compete? You’re not alone. Increasingly, being up to speed on technology is crucial to business success, which means you need a savvy tech team in-house. But hiring those tech workers might be getting harder—and the risks of making a bad hire might have greater ramifications—in 2012.

it engineer

While national unemployment rates hover near 9 percent, CIO.com reports that as of November, the unemployment rate in the technology industry was just 2.7 percent. Also as of November, the number of job openings rose by 12 percent year-over-year, according to tech hiring site Dice.com. In particular, big cities like New York, Silicon Valley and DC are seeing shortages of qualified tech employees.

For 2012, it’s only going to get worse. CIO says a December survey by Dice.com found that 65 percent of IT hiring managers expect to hire in the first half of 2012, with more than one-fourth planning to increase their IT staff by over 20 percent. Those companies are looking for experienced workers, with the biggest demand being for workers with 6 to 10 years of tech experience and those who are skilled in mobile apps, cloud computing, virtualization, project management, business analytics and Java.

What does it mean to you? First, if you’re looking to hire tech employees, you’re going to face an increasingly competitive marketplace, which will make the ongoing challenge of matching big companies’ perks and pay even tougher. Second, even if you’re not hiring, you’ve got reason to worry, as the demand for experienced techies means your key people could get poached.

To keep them happy, you’ll need to offer competitive pay (or better), challenging work and the chance for career growth.

If your key tech workers get lured away, it could put your business at risk in more ways than one. A separate survey from CareerBuilder’s site Sologig.com, reported in TechRepublic, found that a majority of companies had experienced hiring an IT person who wasn’t a good fit.

More than one-third said such bad hires cost them $50,000 or more.  Rushing to hire was the top reason for bad choices, which resulted in everything from lost time and productivity to harmful effects on morale and even client relationships.

Will you be hiring tech workers in 2012? Or are you just hoping to keep the ones you’ve got? Either way, you’d better start strategizing to ensure you don’t end up short on talent and long on headaches.

Tech Engineer Photo via Shutterstock


Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

9 Reactions
  1. Big companies are hard to compete with in the labor market because they usually offer higher salaries and more benefits. However, if you have the right culture you can usually attract good employees who are looking to get out of the big company rat race.

  2. Rieva, thanks for the advice. I think that many of the hires these days are also cost-driven, and this is where the shortcomings happen. With a shortage on local talents, I can’t blame companies to look for a second option, and sometimes, this too can be a major pain. I guess, building a good working relationship with your tech worker is crucial and money may not be that ultimate motivator of them all. Let’s look forward to 2012 with hope and optimism then. Happy New Year!

  3. Will we see more of outsourcing the tech field to long-distance services and cloud services?

  4. It’s important to remember in many polls American workers says salary is NOT their deciding factor when looking for a job. In fact a recent survey of Millennial workers said working in a place that allowed them to choose the smartphone and other computing devices of their choice was more important to them than how much they were being paid.
    It’s often the little things that make a BIG difference.

    And Yes Martin, every expert I’ve talked to believes outsourcing will grow in 2012.

    Happy New Year all.

  5. Rieva,

    It is interesting to see that “millennial” workers said that picking their choice of smartphone and other computer device was very important. I am happy that as a small business owner, I am allowed to decide by myself! I am very happy with my new iPhone 4S! 🙂

    I look forward to hear more about the outsourcing trend in 2012.

  6. Outsourcing doesn’t have to mean offshore, faceless workers. Depending on the size of your community, there could be a wide untapped resource of independent freelance professionals that can help support your business.

  7. Competitive salary is worthwile if the technical team is bringing in a substanial amount of productivity to your business. Junior developers are being paid thirty dollars or above in today’s market. Hence it is a challenging task to hire a great technical team with expertise and also hold on to them for long-term. Thank you for sharing.