If there's an IT skills shortage, where's my job?

Despite glaring statistics and industry studies on the increasing demand for IT skills and the looming shortage of available talent, some IT professionals in Canada remain unconvinced.

"The local K-W Record newspaper ran a story claiming that there were over 2,000 unfilled IT jobs in Waterloo Region, but in the same issue there were absolutely no IT jobs posted in the classified (ads)," notes Jeff Smith, an IT professional currently working for a computer consultancy firm in Waterloo, Ontario.

Smith just completed his Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) training in May, but has previously worked in IT for over 20 years with a bachelor's degree from the University of Western Ontario (UWO).

Two decades of IT experience, an MCSE certification, and the high demand for IT skills, however, did not make his search for work an easy task.

"The biggest challenge during my job hunt was getting noticed over the crowd of other IT professionals," Smith says. "The job requirements were usually reasonable considering the position; however, a few companies had ridiculous requirements for low-end positions," he says, referring to some job posts that require knowledge in numerous programming and database languages for one position.

It's not uncommon, however, for an IT professional to have such a long list of credentials, says Mark Stevenson, director of national resourcing at Toronto-based IT recruitment firm CNC Global Limited.

"Sometimes, these postings may not be reasonable according to the individual applying to it, but it may be reasonable to someone else," he says. Despite the high demand for IT skills, employers today are more discerning and better equipped when it comes to hiring only the right candidate, thanks to a large pool of resumA©s available on the market today, Stevenson says.

Because of this, employers are typically unwilling to settle with anything less than a 90 percent match and would most likely opt to wait for the right candidate than choose the lesser qualified applicant, he adds.

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