Mercury Quoted at Tampa Bay Business Journal Tech Roundtable

More than a dozen technology-sector business people attended the TBBJ Tech Roundtable Monday to discuss the topic of finding and keeping qualified workers. Eric Snider captures the key takeaways in the article, “5 takeaways from TBBJ’s tech roundtable”.

– It’s not just a Tampa Bay problem, but a global one. Demand for workforce is not keeping up with supply, which can lead to competition for merely qualified people, let alone the best and brightest. Because Tampa Bay does not have a far-reaching reputation as a vibrant tech community, that’s makes recruitment even tougher. This can lead to outsized salary expectations from even recent college graduates.

– While salaries are obviously important, it’s also necessary for companies to provide stimulating work environments. That can be accomplished through amenities — Nitro Mobile Solutions, represented by president Pete Slade, features walking workstations that allows employees to task on a treadmill — hip, collaborative workspaces, and an innovative work culture. But the basics still prevail: Tech companies must provide workers with stimulating projects that match their skills, as well as consistent, supportive leadership. Big bottom line: Don’t get the reputation as a boring place to work.

– While companies worry about hiring and retention, they also have valid concerns about the quality of workers in a market that tilts toward labor. Jana Wiggins, CEO of Document Advantage Corp., noticed that hires tend to follow “flavor of the week programming skills, but often lack the pure foundation skills necessary. We pray that they learn quick, and are up and running in the first 90 days.”

– Chris Karlo, a partner at Mercury New Media, saw the situation a bit differently. He finds that, overall, colleges focus on specific skills in their computer science programs, turning out new workers that lack broader analytic and problem-solving skills. Smaller companies — his has 23 employees — don’t have the luxury of providing a lot of core training.

– The panelists found American immigration policy too restrictive. A few encountered situations in which they wanted to hire someone from overseas, but shied away because the process was too onerous. “If we can’t get them locally, and we can’t bring them in, what are we gonna do? Outsource,” said Alex Ecklelberry of Technology Growth Engineering.

To see the full article visit the TBBJ website.

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