IT talent, drained and on drought

October 24, 2006

How I wish I can weed this perennial issue off my mind and emotions, but wherever I go, this topic never fails to haunt me. And it never occurred to me how badly depleted our country’s supply of caliber IT professionals is until this was tackled in the recently concluded Microsoft event held at Fort Ilocandia in Laoag dubbed as “5th Quest: The Microsoft CIO Summit Year 5.Bai, di ko CIO, oy! I just managed to send my boss off for a 3-day errand so I could be his proxy for the event.

One of the highlights of the event, aside from the ala-amazing race challenge in day 1, was a plenary session joined in by esteemed CIOs and IT Heads from the top 120 Microsoft User companies in the country, from various industries (in telecommunications, media, financial institutions, manufacturing, services, mid-market, etc.) as well as representatives from the academe and the government.

The session launched Microsoft Philippines’ newly established Enterprise User Group named m.Pulse – a non-profit organization composed of corporations and organizations in the country invited by Microsoft to participate and collaborate to contribute to the task of nation building and in sharing global best practices and experiences that help optimize technology investments among members.

The session included a discussion about m.Pulse being the main catalyst in addressing the huge gap between the increasing demand for IT skills and the decreasing supply of qualified IT professionals in the country.

For one, the influx of various multinationals opening up its business process outsourcing hub in the country is certainly very good news to our economy. However, local corporations are affected by their entry as their pool of IT professionals get attracted by these multinationals for far better remuneration.  I can attest to this because I lost 9 SAP-skilled professionals in just 1 year.  Like it or not, you cannot blame people or stop them from moving on to better opportunities.

Sadly, the rate of turnover is getting worse. Even these multinationals are now falling short of their target plantilla. Now, more than ever, an intervention is imperative. We cannot afford to stop multinationals from investing in the country simply because of skills shortage, nor should our local companies be disrupted by losing people and corporate knowledge.

Solution? Supply the demand! How? Sayon ra! Tap learning organizations to become the true source of IT talents. Take this, our unemployment rate for fresh IT graduates is high yet the demand for new IT jobs is also high. Does this mean our fresh graduates are not qualified to take on the required positions? Hmmm, maybe there is something wrong with our educational system bai.

The discussion would be endless. Here’s hoping m.Pulse and its members adhere to its tenets and become the prime channel for effective information technology assimilation in the country.

After all, Microsoft’s 5th quest for the Philippines is “skilling the people” – with an “s”.

Visit my related blog – Have “mamam” sessions with your former employees

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