Techies to survive vendor cannibalism: recruiters

Despite a Christmas log-jam of IT vendor mergers - and the inevitable mass sackings that come with them - recruitment consultants believe core technical staff with IT vendors will retain their positions as their peers in sales, marketing and human resources are cut adrift.

Some of the more prominent names to conjoin in the current frenzy of vendor cannibalization include Oracle and PeopleSoft, Symantec and Veritas, Gartner and Meta Group and 3Com swallowing TippingPoint.

Phillip Tusing, business analyst with Greythorn Recruitment said sales and marketing jobs will be the first to go, adding that competitors of merged vendors would cherry-pick quality IT sales people.

"They will be quickly absorbed by the growing demand for good IT sales people and competitors like SAP and Microsoft will [hire] some of them as they try to win PeopleSoft's former accounts."

Ambition recruitment technology director, Jane Bianchini agreed with Tusing, saying the main fallout of recent mergers will not necessarily be felt in IT, but potentially in finance, HR and sales.

"Some fallout may come from the natural distrust of employees in mergers where competitors come together. Those people with three years-plus experience will be snapped up by savvy end-user organizations," Bianchini said.

Ken Owiti, principal of recruitment firm Hamilton James & Bruce, said he is not factoring in any significant skill shortages for 2005.

"In terms of the Symantec and Veritas merger, it is more about creation than destruction - it is trying to cover the major issue for enterprise firms, which is end-to-end security and disaster recovery," Owiti said.

Similarly, Peter Noblett, Hays national IT manager, said he sees no glut of any particular skill set flooding the IT employment market in 2005 due to mergers.

"Personally I don't see there being any real effects on the employment market in Australia, nor can I see a massive reduction in the work available," Noblett said.

Andrew Keayes, national IT practice manager for recruitment firm Hudson, said if anyone was to feel threatened by mergers it is most likely to be existing vendor management.

"Invariably a merger would result in 'marriages that might be marginalized', but those people with [knowledge] and experts that have come from one particular vendor will always be in demand either with direct competitors or with customers," Keayes said.

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