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back to article IT recruiters warn over migration caps

The government's plan to cap the number of non-EU economic migrants allowed into the UK has attracted criticism from IT recruiters, who claim some skills cannot be sourced here. The Home Office is to hold a consultation on the plans. In the meantime an interim limit of 24,100 work visas has been announced. IT recruitment firm …

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Anonymous Coward

It's our own fault

When I left Uni (13 years ago) I had a cleer career path. I worked as a junior programmer for a couple of years, then worked my way up to team lead, and through to Solutions and Enterprise Architect. The problem is that the massive influx of foreign workers has meant that there are no longer any junior roles to be had in the UK IT industry, and therefore there are far fewer people coming up the ranks to full more senior roles.

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Grenade

RE: It's our own fault

Spot on; Though thats to do with how a company is run. See you have a director who is mostly thesedays seagul managment who makes a noise and moves on before the fan gets dirty or the or some other type but either way you find they appease accountants/bottom line and when a company is judges not by its consumer, not by its product, not by how it trains or helps its staff, but is judges by the share price and dividend payout, they you find a system that seems to encourage the shafting of anybody below director level. This leads to onpaper savings such as outsourcing because nobody puts a value on the customer service relationship and other small details, because the accountant cant clearly see that on a balance sheet. Then your open to the whole crazyness that your ocmpany share price needs to updated every microsecond for the only reason but to enable the banks to make more money playing with your shares, more updates a day, the more they get to play people of against each other taking there broker commisions, which all add up.

So if you wonder why we dont have the natural progression, its mostily becasue thats been replaced by the employee changing companies and then comming back later sometimes in a high postition or usualy never seen again. This and the only staff you do have left are the only ones who know the system so you keep them stuck doing that and recruit others to do the new projects, say get IBM to price it all up, then go like the hardware, not sure on your running costs, so you recruit staff to run a system that IBM had planned to fix during the support phase and, boy if your sharp you find these holes out during hand-over testing, thats assuming your company hasn't contracted that out to some drive-by contractor who would be more than happy for it to go wrong as he gets a contract extension, and who can blame him, he is paid contractor rates to tick box's on a test plan, not see the glaring holes in the test plan, thats extra.

this leads to staff who dont give a shit, having had all there drive sucked out from them and that is pretty much how must staff get dealt with and best part of all.

WE CAN BLAME THE BANKS.

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Unhappy

End to cheap labour more like

Yeah right, more like an end to the supply of cheap foreign drones whom companies can employ for a quarter of the UK price

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Anonymous Coward

Governements need to take responsibility...

for the foreign workers that are allowed to enter a country. I these days of recession and layoffs in many industries there should be very little demand for foreign workers.

Unless, of course, by foreign workers companies mean exploitable and if this is the case the government needs to ensure that foreign workers are doing the work they were hired for and that they are receiving the same salaries and benefits that citizens would receive.

To do otherwise is to contribute to the exploitation of foreign workers and could/should make a government and companies involved culpable of exploitation and put both under threat of legal and civil action to remedy this exploitation.

PS Globalization is not good for the economies of Northern Europe, Western Europe, nor North America. It is simply a method for corporations to extract the wealth out of those areas more rapidly, increasing short term profits with a total disregard for long term survivability. This is why developing countries with strong central governments will rule the world within our childrens working lifetimes. Unrestrained capitalism is amoral and self destructive. We're living in the end of that system now.

Let me be the first to welcome our new long sighted overlords.

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Anonymous Coward

(untitled)

What is needed is for industry to accept its responsibility to train the unemployed here, not import skills paid for elsewhere by someone else. If an immigration cap gives that kind of incentive, then that must be a good thing.

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Happy

Here! Here! Sort of...

Nothing wrong with companies getting in migrant skills not present in the UK, but the government should put pressure to ensure that the same companies train-up to local workers. For example, If you need one specialist migrant worker (regardless of any dutch-cap nonsense) then you must train two local workers to ensure the skill is there going forward.

Leaving it to companies will ultimately solve nothing since short-terms costs and needs are always the focus.

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Boffin

There's no shortage... but there is a quality gap...

Even ignoring the cultural issues, salary gap... there is one thing that will always stand out.

Qualify of work done offshore or onshoring workers.

Sorry but even here in the states, we have the same problem.

I can say that while my last client saved money on the dollar per man hour by going offshore, the quality of work, overall delays have cost them a lot, some intangible like credibility.

Don't get me wrong. I do believe in the globalization of the workforce, however because of educational, cultural and communication issues, the workers coming in onshore are less skilled and are less trainable than a recent college grad.

I had two first generation immigrants who grew up and went to school here in the US.

With 6 months of being on the job, they were productive and even started to pick up the slack and were self sufficient.

I have green card professionals who've been here in the states for many years and they have yet to accomplish what these individuals did in 6 months.

Don't get me wrong, they're all nice guys. But I need to have coworkers that I can count on and not have to always review their work.

And that's the thing. You want a body who can memorize a tech manual and regurgitate it, or do you want a developer who can think. Yes, you can find those resources in any country on the planet. But the odds are, the bloke your company is flying in, isn't one of them.

The sad truth is that these IT firms want the immigrant workers because they can easily be exploited.

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Flame

Let the flames begin!

What the hell are you talking about? 6 months? What do you do for a living? We don't hire anyone who will take more than a couple of weeks to be productive. We don't care if they are immigrants or not, old or young. After the initial phone interview, we have a 6 hour in-house interview process where the people in the team that needs the extra man power will decide if they feel ok with that person modifying the code base on which they work. We have both passed on and hired nationals, immigrants, experienced people, newbies fresh out of college, people interviewing in suits and in shorts and sandals. It boils down to whether the applicant is smart enough and knows enough that we don't have to baby sit them. We make these interviews serious enough that we've been labeled a**holes by third parties who have attended. Why do we do it? Because we do engineering software for _very_ large companies where in the time that it probably takes you to have specs defined, we've already cut a new release with the new/modified functionality and so being proficient simply does not cut it. If you can't do it correctly the first time around without anyone holding your hand, go somewhere else.

To the people saying that immigrants make less than locals... Are you working on computer assembly lines and think that qualifies you for being in the IT sector? Our immigrant coders have graduate level degrees (yes, PhD's and MSc's) in engineering, sciences and math and they do not come cheap. They make significantly more than the Computer Science graduates (even the ones with MSc) we hire just because they are so much more productive.

Stop whining and be willing to compete with the whole world; that is what globalization is really about.

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Joke

How can you tell if an IT recruiter is lying?

(rhetorical)

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Joke

ooh i know this one...

They opened their mouth? ;)

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Happy

How can you tell if an IT recruiter is lying?

They're still breathing....

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One possible translation

One possible translation of "we can't find those skills locally" is "none of the locals is willing to work for the crap wages we're willing to pay."

Research at the University of California - Davis showed this in the H1-B ramp-up to Y2K in the USA. Source: http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/h1b.html.

Yes, it's from 1998.

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Bronze badge

Another translation

IT recruiters get a much bigger fee for getting foreign workers and for sending our engineers overseas.

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@cschneid

Absolutely.

From the article...

"We have handled a number of key IT positions that would not have been filled had it not been for the experience and knowledge of some of these workers. "

Those key positions being 5-10 years experience of <insert in-demand skills here> for fuck-all salary. Yep, those positions can only be filled by people from the 3rd World. I think EU-wide should be a suitably large pool of potential employees for the UK.

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FAIL

Maybe the UK IT people actually want a living wage?

The companies who constantly whine about there not being any qualified UK staff, and con the idiots at the civil service into agreeing (so allowing huge numbers of foreign IT 'qualified' staff into the country), really mean there arent any UK staff who want to work in a demanding IT job for minimum wage.

There are a huge number of IT staff out of work in the UK, many of whom have given up any hope of finding a decent (not, not great, just decent) job in IT in the UK thanks to these greedy bottom feeders.

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Anonymous Coward

oh hell yeah

It's so bad, I've actually tried changing my entire career industry to solve my unemployment issues.

One job I was interviewing for in Sheffield had over 1000 applicants (for a position that was really basic 1st/2nd line support even tho I have 10 years of network administration under my belt!).

I was the local guy, job ended up going to someone in Uxbridge - presumably because they had concerns that my experience was too much for the job since they told me I was the strongest candidate!

Oh well, I'm enjoying my media internship a lot more than I enjoyed being yelled at by people who don't understand a single thing I do about something they fucked up and I had to mop up the damage.

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Anonymous Coward

Bingo

Waaah, we want to keep gambling on recruiting cheap foreigners who claim to have the skills that we need, rather than train UKian graduates who are honest about their experience and employment history.

Russian programmers, pretty good (if a bit fruit loops), but I've yet to meet an African, Asian or Oriental dev whose actual skillset bore more than a passing resemblance to what it says on their CV. I'm sure they exist, just like Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and man-friendly lesbians.

Anonymous, because honesty might be illegal in Soviet UKistan now for all I know.

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Anonymous Coward

Recruiters have no complaint

Given how atrociously they treat their ``merchandise''.

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Flame

My heart bleeds, yeah right...

Well, they should stop actively engaging in racists practices and racial selection.

I stopped bothering with a number of sectors in the UK IT industry 9 years ago. At the time I was wandering why my CV never gets a call back. So I wrote a CV of one mister V. P. who graduated from the worst uni I could get info on in one well know country, who has failed a couple of jobs in a couple of failed companies and had the FAILURE written all over his CV. I applied to the same jobs I never got a callback supplying my unused NTL line as a phone number. The phone went OFF the hook for a week.

After that I turned around and redirected all of my efforts elsewhere.

So there is one thing I would like to say to our beloved recruiters who are complaining about this - YOU REAP WHAT YOU SAW. No shut up and s**k it up. Should not have done racial selection in the first place.

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FAIL

Thats right blame the dirty non-EU foreigners...

Of course its the fault of myself and my dirty filthy highly educated non-european fellow foreigners, that are responsible for the high levels of unemployment and the low intake of graduates into british companies.

It has absolutley nothing to do with the poor education standards, the 3 year courses to learn engineering (when the rest fo the world does at least 4 years), and the influx of cheap eastern european labour which means that english luddites and chavs no longer have there jobs pumping petrol or doing low skilled manual labour for a living. No it of course has nothing to do with these things... *rolleyes*

Pffft, i thought with the change in government that policy would stop being made on the front page of the Daily Mail... I guess i should have known better...

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FAIL

Typical.

Highly educated you may be, but you can't spell "their" though, can you? And please use a capital "I" when referring to yourself.

Thank you.

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Stop

Don't generalise

My BEng took 4 years (3.5 years education, 0.5 years industrial placement). Oh, and I wasn't born here either and I'm not caucasian.

Low cost off shore resources drive down costs. However, those in "protected" professions (e.g. Lawyers, Doctors, Dentists, Actuaries etc.) have a high barrier to entry in that to practice qualifications and *experience* in the UK is required. MP's jobs are protected for 4 years, they are not affected.

Yes, it makes the UK more competitive on price, I would argue this is at the cost of innovation and creativity.

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Flame

Highly educated my a***

Highly educated my a***. I am going to take offence here and I am very well justified to do so.

Most of Continental EU CS engineering degrees are 5 years at least because it is taught in proper "full" universities and not in engineering schools. I suggest you first learn what are you talking about. Not surprisingly, on a comparative scale of 1 to 10 most of the continental EU produces software engineers around 7-9 with Russia, Bulgaria and France usually hitting solid 9-10.

Not surprisingly this has led companies like Vmware, Cisco, etc to move key development there. Ditto for vote and bank fraud prevention systems, etc. It has all gone east for a reason and the reason is qualified labour which is often paid on par with the UK/US by the way. An average Indian engineer (and the kind of outsourcer that sends work to India) can very well choke on their breakfast seeing some of the EU salaries. Yes, EU is "overpaid", however EU produces working high quality code. It is paid for what it delivers.

Now as far as UK engineering degrees - there is a bit of what you refer to. However it is not in CS itself. It is in the supporting disciplines - UK CS does not study anywhere near the amount of math which the continent goes through and it shows. Neither does Indian CS by the way. At least compared to what the Russian and the French have to get through to get their degree. And it _ALSO_ shows.

So comparing UK and Indian CS to what the continent studies is patently unfair. However if we compare, India's CS engineering production is generally sub-5. So highly educated - some other time. There is however LOTS of it and it is erroneously perceived as cheap.

UK is actually not that bad. Based on my own experience of working with British software engineers it is generally around 7. There are not a lot of them, but the few that still graduate are actually fairly good (considering the lack of supporting math in the curriculum).

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Welcome

the problem is

that there is a place for highly skilled migrants but the way the scheme has been run is cray.

The definition of highly skilled is so low I suspect it was put together by someone who left school with no qualifications.

I have worked with people who have arrived on HSM visas and they were in no way highly skilled and I knew people already in the UK who were out of work who were more skilled.

There are occasions where if we don't allow a highly skilled person into the country to do some work then we will negatively impact the country or business but these cases are less than the number of people we have given visas to.

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Grenade

According to some yanks I know...

My UK MSc is viewed as being good as, or better than, an American PhD.

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Go

Oh so many hilarious responses...

I must say ive enjoyed some of these lovely responses. Especially the spelling ones. How mature.

But in the interest of solid discourse, let me respond to some of the more pertinent points.

1) I will disclose now that i am not in IT, i am in engineering. So whilst i cant comment on the particular woes of your industry i can talk of my own. We also have a large flux of sub continent and asian engineers. I myself am also not european, coming from that small island just off Asia called Australia. I did find it highly amusing that the moment non-european came up everyone instantly started slagging off the sub continent. Its a bit like everyone else in the world immmediately thinking your in London if you say your in England, no?

2) I cannot comment on IT degrees in the UK, but the majority of engineering degrees (at least mechanical and related engineering degrees) i have seen have been 3 years. With 1 year for a masters. I have had people try to justify this by saying that they fit more into the courses in the UK then elsewhere, but thats just bollocks. I still stand firmly by the fact that 4 years of intense study is just about enough to turn out a bachelor level engineer. Anything less then that and your not an engineer. Also considering the knowledge of some of the young UK graduates ive met ("Umm can you weld mild steel?") there are some serious knowledge gaps... Perhaps about a years worth... And no i dont believe that Australia has the best higher education in the world. The German & Dutch graduates ive met have been hands down the best skilled young grads ive had the pleasure to work with...

3) The test to come to the UK on a highly skilled migrants visa or the Tier 1 Migrants now is an incredibly hard test to pass. At the present time you require at least for engineering a masters degree (thats 5-7 years of higher education for everyone outside of the UK), and be already earning approximately £35,000 a year. Fail either of these and your out. Number of years experience counts for nothing. You can thank the Home Office for that. Oh and did i mention it costs ~£600 non-refundable just to apply?

Now i cannot comment on the company sponsorship route, as i have not done that and maybe that is where all your complaints are located, but if thats the case then obviously thats the Home Offices fault and you should be directing your angst at them and making them raise the bar. In Europe, your position has to be advertised for 6 weeks before a non-EU person can be employed on a Work Permit. Does the Home Office do this? I very much doubt it.

But the main thing to consider is where do you honestly think the reduction will come from, the Tier 1 with its already staggeringly high requirements or the company sponsored route? And which one gets the abuse that your all talking about... hmmm... lets think...

4) There seems to be a lot of hatred for the sub-continent IT Professionals and Engineers, which i can understand to some degree. Ive worked with some who were atrocious, but ive also worked with some who were amongst the best engineers ive ever worked with. However, i find that there is a large cultural difference between the sub continent and the west. In the west, in engineering and IT, we want creativity, innovation and problem solving. On the sub continent, these things are not the products of their culture. Unfortunately this is not something that most management realise. If you provide the engineer from the sub continent with a routine, a method of doing something that goes from a to b then you will get optimal results, and that is how they are best uitilised, freeing your innovators for crerating new routines/programs/etc.

If you have a problem with someone in your company who appears to be a numpty from this line, then trying take 5 minutes to put them on a task that they can follow from a to b and see how well they do it. If they are not up to the job and doing it very well after a short period of time, then OK, yes you have yourself a drop kick, but the majority will find that the person works well in this role. Its a cultural difference and when handled correctly (assuming you have a process for which this sort of routining is viable) you will get a very productive team member.

If your from a company where this isnt achievable, well then all you can do is try to drill it into your managers head that your new colleague is useless. Try telling them that a graduate would accomplish more and that you are more then happy to train a new graduate, if they get one, and bring them up to speed. You might get lucky....

5) I made a mention of low cost eastern europeans which someone took as me attacking the IT skills of eastern europeans. This was not the case. This article talked about the overall high unemployment rate in the UK and that stoppping or reducing the number of non-EU migrants was going to have an effect on this. That is to a large degree bollocks! The highest percentage of unemployment in Britian, as it almost always is worldwide, is that of unskilled labour. And guess what, you dont receive a large number of non-EU unskilled labour, not with the rules i described above. So naturally what you do get is non-UK EU unskilled labour. So there will be no effect on the vast majority of umemployment in the UK by these new rules. All it will do is make the UK an even less desirable location to come to for the highly skilled engineers and professionals out there.

I await your "informed" responses below...

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MSc vs phd

nahh.

The US PhD - at least from an Ivy League college is the most demanding qualification in the world in my experience. Just read the thesis's that are produced.

The differences are :

- A committee, not an examiner.

- Public viva defence.

- Thesis defended; not contribution demonstrated.

- Contribution to knowledge + demonstrated expertise in subject.

That's not to say that the UK PhD is bad (I have one); it is stronger than the continental version I think, but US PhD's are ahead.

Also, the MSc in the US is usually 2 years of self directed work, so I would tend to rate them as pretty considerable as well.

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There's one major difference

The engineering trades are highly regulated, and there are many professional associations that support and oversee the engineering fields. It's understandable, and a fine thing, because if one of you guys f--- up a bridge or a piece of machinery people will die.

For the most part, our field is not so well regulated, and our professional associations are generally mouthpieces for the big software companies like Microsoft. Unlike engineering, our field is young. When comparing engineers to IT workers you're comparing apples and oranges.

What happens with H1-Bs (the American equivalent of this situation) is that there are diploma mills in places like India that churn out people that can just about manage cut-and-paste programming. They can make the equivalent of a bridge made out of popsicle sticks and rubber bands and management won't care. It will crash, it won't be well documented (or documented at all) and the more qualified American workers end up collecting food stamps or working at grocery stores.

Also, beware of slagging people for spelling mistakes, because you look like an idiot when you misspell you're as your.

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FAIL

Yes, yes, yes Intapeople...

Then please do tell exactly what skills could not be sourced directly from the existing UK-based workforce?

I call BS until the details are provided.

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Anonymous Coward

Never-ending shortage

There has always been, always will be, a shortage of people about three to six years into their career. They are experienced enough to be useful, young enough to be cheap, daft enough to enthusiastically take on unpaid overtime, and single enough to do so. Any bleating from industry or the recruitment companies about lack of candidates does not refer to 40-somethings with kids to support, I can assure you.

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In other news, company complains they cant make money anymore

Well there is a suprise.. a company that gets money for recruiting workers to come to the uk moans that they wont be able to carry on making money at the expense of the existing workforce.

I have no problem with uk companies employing tech workers from india when they reside in india, but when they are allowed to work in the uk with the obvious effects that has on the uk work force (ie we dont need you when we can employ someone on half your salary) it annoys the hell out of me.

One of the reasons I lost my last job was for the reason above, cheap workers with little experience and understanding of the uk but it was ok because the uk workers would firefight most of the problems and do most of the design work for them. So to management it had the appearance of working when in fact it wasn't.

Its about time the government realised that there are plenty of IT tech workers out there who can do the job, they just cant compete with an unlevel playing field.

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Go

Not wanting to start a fight

But did you and your colleagues ever try not molly-coddling these unskilled prats?

First rule of team work is that you start off helping the new guy get up to speed but if they're a complete numbskull with no aptitude, then you make sure managament know it, and then leave them to flounder. Its harsh, yes, but if they cant do the work theyve been hired to do, then they dont deserve the job. Obviously this doesnt apply to graduates no matter where they come from but if someone is claiming to have 5 years experience in C, but wouldnt know the difference between a mouse and a keyboard. Its not worth carrying there *ss over the line.

Its too easy for the situation you describe to happen, so its best not to play along to the Management BS game...

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Stop

the problem is

You can't leave them to flounder, as the UK staff are put in a "position of responsibility" ie it's not their nuts on the chopping block if they fail, it's yours. A failure never reflects on an individual low level flunkie, it reflects on your whole team. And a high level manager asking why your team released shoddy code, is not going to accept the answer "because you forced us to use this bunch of useless retards instead of doing it outselves"

We have been explicitly told that we have to report a positive success to the higher ups, despite a number of abject failures, we don't have the luxury of just not accepting crap code. We have to take it as is, scrap most of it and rewrite it properly, or leave it as is, and get a load of flack for releasing a shoddy application.

Ideally, the code would never pass review, but some things just have to be done, you can't wait around for it to be sent back for the 6th-7th time to be done properly. It's raise it, be told to accept it as is and fix it later, then rinse and repeat for the next project, generally with the same people making all the same mistakes. Nobody who can do anything about it, is allowed to know that their clever idea was a poorly thought out failure.

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I cant fail !

Spot on. You cant let them flounder because if you do then you fail your own objectives. And failing objectives can lead to you being given the boot (underperformance). All perfectly legal and saves the company the expense of having to lay you off.

So you have a stark choice of stumbling through and succeeding (ie working late, weekends for no overtime, constant code reviews, direction and rewrites), finding another job or hanging around for the redundancy.

I chose the latter, but only because the job was making me so miserable that I felt it was the best option for me (worked for 15 years in IT). Productivity is never measured just the end result is important and the sooner that all UK tech are out of a job and the results of real outsourcing can be felt by management* the better.

There are plenty of other 'fads' that will go the way of outsourcing.

* funny how senior management are never outsourced...

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Thumb Up

"some skills cannot be sourced here"

Aw, diddums. That's what you get for dumping education and replacing it with foreign labour in the first place. Tough luck for you and better pay for the rest.

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FAIL

Or from elsewhere either...

One UK company I worked for brought in four US workers to 'fast-track' some Oracle Forms work. They came in on a skilled worker scheme. But first we had to train them! They were from a big consultancy and got well paid plus a completion bonus (oh, and free training at our expense).

A few months later the company brought in some Indian workers under the same scheme. We had to train them too. But they continued to earn their Indian rate of pay while the agency paid for accomodation. Disgusting practice, morally wrong. And all this time there were people out there who could have done the job.

I challenge anybody to refute the general point people are making here - for 99% of the vacancies filled through this scheme, there most certainly were UK based people who could and should have done the work. That is still the case today, too.

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Anonymous Coward

Another possible translation

"Have you seen how much mark-up we can charge for these people? Please don't take our gravy train away."

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Anonymous Coward

Skilled foreigners NOT needed

Companies investing in our population IS needed.

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Silver badge
Thumb Down

Skilled foreigners needed

Cheap foreigners needed, more like.

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FAIL

Lets face it...

No one grows up wanting to work in IT recruitment. If they spent more time trying to understand the intricacies of the roles they were recruiting for, and how different skills interweave with others, they may have the nous to be able to realise that there is very often no 100% person fit to any job description.

Unfortunately, and I see it all to often... recruitment agent gets job spec and then expects to find an exact 100% match for all the skills listed, rather than understanding that that person doesn't actually exist.

The problem is also that recruitment is most of the time staffed by transients, persons that could not hack it in IT proper, or those who have drifted into the role because they didn't have any real skills at anything.

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Orly

You only need to look at the advertisements to see why they can't get the people.

Take a random job and you'll see something like being; Red Hat Certified, MCSE, CCNP, VCP, have extensive knowledge of SAN's, know EMC and Netapp storage inside out and ITIL v3 and TOGAF qualified.

And for your god like knowledge of IT Infrastructure we'll pay you £45k a year.

Now working in the real world as I do, in a million years I wouldn't get my company to pay for half that training. So I can

a) Go overseas and do the training cheap

b) Or spend half a years salary (Or half an MBA) to pay for it

or

c) Watch it go to someone who is shipped in at £35k a year, has all the required certificates but crucially does NOT know what they're talking about.

If you read almost every single job, the recruiter wants you to be doing exactly that job already. God forbid you should learn or expand in a new position.

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FAIL

Or, from a contract perspective...

"We want a well-qualified and experienced software architect to design our system for us, but we'll only pay £450 a day."

I make it crystal clear to agencies that try this line, that they are wasting their time. If they can find somebody to fill the role at that rate, they probably shouldn't be doing the job. The big consultancies charge four figure sums for even slightly experienced staff, going to the freelance market with a tiny budget and big expectations will only lead to trouble.

I've found most companies to be crap at recruitment in general. They don't focus on what is really needed for the job, or on giving the employee an overall package of salary, benefits and work/life balance that motivates and retains them. Agencies don't get involved here at all, they want a high staff turnover.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Yeah tell me about it.....

I am job hunting at the moment. I'm looking in the networks field. And I cannot believe some of the postings. Do you have experience working with firewalls from these 5 different vendors with certifications from each vendor? Well if I can work on two of them does that not prove I know about firewalls and can pick the rest up.

Have you worked with each of these individual models of Cisco switch? Well some of them, but I don't get put forward for the job because I am missing one. But there is no difference between the ones you are asking for (same OS, commands etc), just different port densities. I could understand if they were asking about some of the switches and routers that an ISP uses because they are different.

Now I have been working on networks for large multinationals since leaving Uni at 21. Ten years later and I have never been on any training courses, or needed a training budget. All of my knowledge and certifications have come from teaching myself, on the job and mentioning. I look for new roles because they have something I have not done before as I get bored if I am not picking up a new technology.

Do I need lots of expensive training, no, just put me in there and I will pick it up as I have done for the rest of my career. I have a track record of doing so. Employers are aware of this and are not expecting you to find someone that fits 100%, they just gave you a spec for an imaginary perfect person.

All this has not been helped by employers outsourcing their recruitment to these IT recruiters who seem to have no idea about the right people to pass along to the employers. So employers don't get good candidates and IT recruiters, of course, cannot find people who meet the spec 100% so there is a 'skills shortage' and you need people from aboard.....

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Unhappy

Speaking as someone currently trying to recruit IT staff...

I can find plenty of good UK candidates, but can't get the budget to pay for them (i.e. pay the rates I expected to pay the same people five years ago). Which explains why I have a high turnover of low skilled foreign staff. Yes they're cheap and available, if they weren't I might persuade the powers that be to pay for someone who can do a little more than pick a PC out of a lineup of domestic appliances.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 15.13

I'm being paid the same rate that I was 3 years ago despite paying for my own training to achieve a significant qualification. Just thought that I'd mention that. (which is why I'm AC)

Having said that, I do understand the problem you face - but where are you looking for the applicants?

I should also ask, is it false economy to pay a low wage to un-skilled staff that will do a poor job, or would you be better off cutting the number of staff, to allow you to offer more and get better staff, that will do a better job?

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Anonymous Coward

Cuts

You're lucky. I took a 60% pay cut to change direction in my IT career 5 years ago and have still not clawed back more than 10% of it.

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FAIL

Ahem...

Large IT outsourcing companies both pay low wages to under-skilled staff AND reduce the head count as much as they can - I used to work for one. My company lost a number of large government contracts as a direct result of this (incapable of delivering to timescale, requirements, budget or often all three), yet totally failed to recognise the issue because there is no immediate negative impact on the bottom line they so treasured. In fact in the short term doing this made the company look better than it actually was.

This is the effect of American capitalism (deliberate emphasis on the country) where share price and earnings per share are the only thing that matters when measuring company performance.

Unfortunately it takes a few years for the effects of this stupid approach to employee management to be properly seen. Once entrenched it is a position that is impossible to escape from because it involves improving employee benefits across the board (20% pay rise, everybody?) which has an immediate, expensive and highly visible negative impact on those things that Wall Street love to measure company performance by.

Companies that work in this way deserve to fail.

You'll notice that there are a small number of big companies that don't work this way. Like them or not, Apple and Google (to name but two) have a thriving business that is reinforecd by the quality of their products, give a good benefits package (I can't speak for the Apple Store mind), have low staff turnover and their pick of the labour market. It's a great positive feedback loop.

Meanwhile large IT outsourcing companies repeatedly bugger up what should be simple contracts because they bid low and suffer from high staff turnover. A classic negative feedback loop and why I'll never be an employee of one again.

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And this is it

Spreadsheet management ; it costs £n to get someone to do that so why pay £n+1?

answer ; in 3 years you will pay n*n to sort it all out, but who in your management team will either be in post in 3 years, or have this stuck to them in 3 years.

If the gravy train was stopped and no one would do it for those rates then you would get the budget to get someone half way decent.

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Silver badge

Internal secondment

Off topic but I hear that some international companies are still up to the old switcheroo trick of bringing their own employees from India (for example) on temporary internal transfer and paying them India wages while they work in the UK, thus ripping off (a) the transferred employee (b) HMRC and (c) the rest of us. Recent rule changes put a limit of 3 months for the transfer, but large companies just get round that by bringing in one lot then changing them for another lot every 3 months. Utter chaos. Like something dreampt uo by Arthur Daley. Anyone else heard this ?

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