Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Cheapest Body

Being in a small town where there is only one game and a half in town for IT consulting work, I can attest to a lot of the trends and observations that this author and his readers talk about.

In my neck of the woods, everyone and their grandma with a smattering of IT-speak has set up shop as a staff augmentation agency. Whenever the game and half in town have a requisition to fill, the battle to fill it gets fierce and bloody. Within minutes, the job posting is up on all the major job boards and there is one by each of these agencies.

From the nationwide chains to the local Mom and Pop shops everyone is in the fray trying to place a body. Being that all shops are not equally rated by the clients, the smaller ones have to piggy back on the preferred vendors to get their foot in the door and submit their candidate. The key to landing a job successfully is to quote the lowest bill rate possible.

You may have twenty five years of experience but do not expect to make any more than the recent college grad scouting the market for her first gig. It is a level playing field as far as hourly rates and there is close to no correlation between experience and pay. What skills and value you bring to the table matter little to hiring managers whose most consuming concern is their budget.

They would much rather hire someone young and inept who will flounder and often miserably fail if they cost a lot less than a seasoned professional who can deliver a high quality product and hit the ground running.

Quality is most definitely not king in the IT industry. The older person usually has more responsibilities and often cannot afford to work for as cheap as the young kid fresh. They get priced out just by local competition and then there is offshore to contend with. They have a choice between being underemployed, underpaid and unappreciated in the IT industry or finding a new career.

I would tend to concur with the author that the IT industry is headed south and has little to offer those who have spent the best years of their life acquiring the skills and competencies that just cannot be replicated without doing time in the trenches and learning things the hard way. I always tell my six year old she must never get into IT. Anything but IT is my mantra for her.

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