CIOs recommend creative hiring

In a tight and competitive information technology labor market, a group

of chief information officers said Wednesday that organizations looking

to attract and retain employees have to hire raw talent, invest heavily

in training and offer employment perks such as flexible hours, telecommuting

and job sharing.

"You actually don't need people with a lot of experience — the technologies

are changing so fast [anyway]," said Andre Mendes, CIO at the Public Broadcasting

Service (PBS) in Alexandria, Va. "What you need are people with potential,

with love for their technology and the ability to learn quickly."

The need to be creative in employment matters is being driven, in part,

by the continuing IT labor shortage, Mendes and other panelists noted. For

example, Meta Group Inc. in Stamford, Conn., estimates that there will be

850,000 vacant IT jobs in the United States by year's end.

Fairfax, Va., has succeeded in filling all but 13 of its 367 IT positions

by emphasizing its flexibility on issues such as job sharing and by making

few extra demands on a worker's time, said CIO David Molchany. Employees

rarely have to work on weekends, except on special projects. Even then,

"it's nothing like the grind of the private sector," Molchany said.

The federal government, which is facing a pressing need for IT help

because of growing numbers of retirement-eligible workers, is attractive

to people who aren't primarily motivated by salary, said Alan Balutis, director

of the Advanced Technology Program at the Commerce Department.

"Not everyone wants to work 80 hours a week with a chance at being a

millionaire at some point in their life," he said.

But one thing the federal government can't do is to move quickly to

extend an offer to a potential employee, Balutis said. Getting a federal

job frequently can take 60 to 90 days. "I couldn't compete [with the private

sector] even if they gave me monies to match the salaries," he said.

Distributed by IDG News Service.

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