For some time, the established perception in the IT community was that the demand for jobs in this sector far exceeded the labor supply. This is true not only locally, but globally as well. Statements such as “the unemployment rate in IT is almost zero,” thus suggesting a paradox, in a country where unemployment is at nearly 13%, and whose informal employment has been growing exponentially over the last four years.
This is a challenging dilemma, almost as much as a three-variable equation: on one hand, the demand for professionals with a certain level of experience (which we will further explore) and on the other, the limited universe of labor supply, that is, the job itself. Lastly, and perhaps where the solution to this riddle shall be searched, the famous ecosystem where labor supply and demand are established.
The first two terms in the aforementioned equation (labor supply and demand), for the purpose of this analysis, were considered as absolute data, unchanged by factors: the current dynamics of business; the need for companies to stand out thus assuring competitiveness; the fundamental importance of key, accurate, and timely information when making decisions- either in the private sector, or in government- are factors that lead the demand for implementation of technological projects into sustained growth (development of applications, digital transformation, robotics, virtual reality, augmented reality, Internet of Things, etc.).
Consequently, the demand for talent capable of carrying out such projects is growing. However, the propensity of young professionals to engage in extensive academic careers is declining; people today looking for — and think they can find — shortcuts to success. The diminished enchantment surrounding technical disciplines -in a reality where nearly everything is ephemeral, where so much is predicated upon image, exposure, and acceptance from others-the scarcity of novel, curricular content offered by most university programs in technology-related careers, among other factors, makes for a lean pool of qualified professionals. It is worth noting that staying abreast of the rapid rate of this evolution is challenging and very hard to follow.
Albeit widely quoted in recent times, the term “ecosystem” is without a doubt, what best defines this case — i.e. a network of players and links that contribute to this paradigm its characteristic complexity. This is where all parties must focus to achieve a satisfactory solution to a particular challenge. The aforementioned parties are the business, both private and public, that demand the services of IT professionals. These are also the businesses that provide services related to technological projects: consulting firms, software developers, project leads, solution brokers, etc. Nevertheless, the universities, the government, and their incentives/policies on the sector, and even the media, are also part of this ecosystem. The ensuing success will rely upon the coherence of management in the parties involved.
To many companies who provide services such as those described, it is much easier, more attractive and cheaper, to take the shortest path: attracting resources from your competition (the very one that, most likely, invested in their training) instead of betting on the training and development of recent graduates, or from university students of related fields. This kind of approach affects the entire ecosystem, since a local business cannot compete with the wages and benefits of a multinational company, and therefore lends itself to irreparable disruption in compensation structures. Employers must resist the urge to recruit talent via this strategy and create a better and more sustainable growth model based on investing in training, coaching, and expertise of new candidates in the job market. Only then, will it be possible to expand the professional basis, which is the clearest indicator of sustained growth in this case.
Private companies notwithstanding, should monitor this growth trend by accepting project teams in a pyramid structure: allowing the most operational part of the team to be formed by resources in training, and thereby prudently contributing to the welfare of the ecosystem. The government should provide support through public policies so that businesses in the sector can continue to grow, by providing incentives and equal opportunity regulations that, above all, are consistent for all. Moreover, universities should include in their curricula, content that are in alignment with the new demands imposed by technology, and at the same time offer innovative training, adapted to the new trends that are being developed globally and through technology, can be replicated without the hurdles of the past.
Putting this framework into action is a major challenge. More than ever before, the moment to discuss and establish the basis for sustained and coherent growth of the task is approaching and shall be taken advantage of.