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The founder of Monster worries about labor shortages!!!

Calina Cazangiu
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Joined: Feb 27, 2003
Posts: 30
http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/technology/article/0,1299,DRMN_49_2028180,00.html
SJ Adnams
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Joined: Sep 28, 2001
Posts: 925
"Taylor told a crowd gathered Tuesday to honor DeVry University's new flagship campus "
tell them want they want to hear.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I agree with him completely. Remember, in this down economy, unemployment is still at a relative low 6% (from a history perspective). As the economy picks up, that's not much of a cushion.
There's also the issue of skill set. If you have a 10% unemployment rate, but mostly burger flippers, and then IT picks up, the shortage will get worse. I'm not saying we have many burger flippers, but I think for IT jobs many people's skill sets aren't always well aligned with the needs of the employers.
--Mark
Rufus BugleWeed
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Joined: Feb 22, 2002
Posts: 1551
Yesterday's NYT egalitarian recession


"For high-school dropouts, this does not look like a deep recession," Professor Katz said( economics professor at Harvard). For college graduates, it does.


Although the unemployment rate is about average, it obscures a harsher reality. A large number of the long-term jobless have stopped looking for work, making them ineligible for the government's definition of unemployment, economists say. The fuller picture reveals the labor market to be as bad as it was in the early 90's, when the unemployment rate topped 7 percent.

Why do you continue to cling to that meaningless unemployment statistic?
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:

Why do you continue to cling to that meaningless unemployment statistic?

It's quite meaningful. It's real! The other stuff is speculation, unless they have meaningful statistic sampling models by which to project a different unemployment rate. The one you quote seems to be "gee, there are people not looking, so I'm going to make it a higher number."
--Mark
Al Newman
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Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
I think some of you are missing his point. He is looking out into the medium long-term after this recession (which is already quite old).
Taylor's reasoning: Sometime soon, the economy and the markets will recover. Then, a massive number of baby boomers are going to retire, leaving behind a big pool of vacant jobs with few workers to fill them.
It's not a matter of "if," he says, "It's just a matter of when."
Because of the worker shortage he is predicting, Taylor encouraged employers Tuesday to "treat our employees like gold." Soon enough, he argued, they'll have more than enough opportunity to defect.

Taylor is right on here. The eldest Boomers are reaching their late 50's right now. A lot of them are going to retire, though many won't be able to afford it unless the stock market comes back. But in 20 years the entire Boomer generation will be thinking retirement if not all retired by then.
As for the current slump in tech jobs? I'm already seeing signs of job growth, and I predict that the supply of good techies will run out quickly once recession ends. Many people have dropped out and few students have been getting into programming because it's a depressed field. It's going to take 3 or 4 years to reverse that trend. It's not going to be as easy simply to import Indian H1B people either, now that job prospects at home look increasingly bright.....
Couple that with how long it takes to learn Java meaningfully, and there is obviously going to be a problem.
Look forward to an IT 'skills' shortage soon.


SCJP1.4, SCWCD
Jim Baiter
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Joined: Jan 05, 2001
Posts: 532
I can see this in certain professions but in IT, I'm not really *that* convinced. Firstly we attracted everyone and their brother into the field with the boom so it is very saturated. Secondly, the buy over build syndrome has really taxed the IT development shops. There used to be large staffs of developers in an IT shop whereas now they are few and far between.
Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:
I think some of you are missing his point. He is looking out into the medium long-term after this recession (which is already quite old).
...
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15961
    
  19

I'm not really as willing to stick my neck out. While it's true that boomer retirements will thin out the ranks at the upper levels, the selfsame "baby bust" also means that a lot of consumption will drop as well, as the audience for goods and services falls. Retirees historically don't spend as much as they did when they were working (with some exceptions such as increasing spending on healthcare). Of course, the boomer generation has been atypical anyway. By rights, we should already be seeing downward pressure on housing, since retirees were prone to downsize their housing to something cheaper and easier to maintain, and (so far) boomers have not done so.
A lot of the IT worker glut has been squeezed out of the industry as many have switched to other professions and some may not care to switch back again. Whether it's been enough to matter we'll just have to wait and see.
The issue of offshoring has also been ignored. Not every country in the world has the same age demographics we do. Arab countries, in particular are youth-heavy. If enough IT and BP jobs are offshored, the net result may be that even in a recovered economy that the job market may be tough.
And, of course, if the job market gets too tough, the economy won't improve at all. You can't buy if you can't afford to spend. At least for long...
[ June 30, 2003: Message edited by: Tim Holloway ]

Customer surveys are for companies who didn't pay proper attention to begin with.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Tim Holloway:
The issue of offshoring has also been ignored. Not every country in the world has the same age demographics we do. Arab countries, in particular are youth-heavy. If enough IT and BP jobs are offshored, the net result may be that even in a recovered economy that the job market may be tough.

I still don't see offshoring as a huge issue. It is likely to effect the OTC market, but since most software development is a custom job (which I believe cannot be easily done over the narrow communication pipe provided by outsourcing), it will not be as easily shipped overseas.
--Mark
Al Newman
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Joined: Mar 30, 2003
Posts: 716
Jim wrote:
I can see this in certain professions but in IT, I'm not really *that* convinced. Firstly we attracted everyone and their brother into the field with the boom so it is very saturated.

Hmmm. I was at a Big 5 consultantcy during the last stages of the boom, and I certainly saw plenty of this. I saw lots of money thrown at people who knew little and could do less than that! I also saw a lot of those people drop out and go into something more promising, as early as 2000!
Still some will stay no doubt. But people are dropping out all the time.
The recession has to have had it's effect on students, few of whom will be entering the field now or over the next couple of years. I saw this in the early 80's, when I was one of the few graduates who got a development job early into the recovery. Current juniors and seniors see mass programmer unemployment and make other choices, most of them.
The issue of offshoring has also been ignored. Not every country in the world has the same age demographics we do. Arab countries, in particular are youth-heavy. If enough IT and BP jobs are offshored, the net result may be that even in a recovered economy that the job market may be tough.

May be. As has been pointed out, offshoring has some huge communication problems. BTW, I came within a hair of ending up as a senior architect/mentor for a programming shop in Dubai this spring just before the war. They have a ton of work but (get this) it's all for Arab customers. Seems there is a lot of demand for programming in the Arab world, where a lot of things haven't been automated yet.
One more thing. At my consultantcy I watched the pipeline of new projects dry completely up in 2000. There was one big one, and the sales guys were selling their mothers, wive's, kids, anything to get that project. The situation hasn't improved markedly since then. This means one thing to me, an enormous backlog of projects is building, waiting for the recession to end. The recession is probably ending right now. QED.....
Rick DeBay
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Joined: Jul 11, 2003
Posts: 70
Originally posted by Rufus BugleWeed:
Yesterday's NYT egalitarian recession
Why do you continue to cling to that meaningless unemployment statistic?

"...have stopped looking for work..." actually means their (and mine) unemployment benefits have run out.
We're still looking, it's just that the Feds and the States have stopped counting us because it makes the numbers look better.
Tim Holloway
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jun 25, 2001
Posts: 15961
    
  19

Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

I still don't see offshoring as a huge issue. It is likely to effect the OTC market, but since most software development is a custom job (which I believe cannot be easily done over the narrow communication pipe provided by outsourcing), it will not be as easily shipped overseas.
--Mark

To a degree, I concur. However that hasn't stopped a lot of companies from trying. I'm not located in a really large city, but two of the largest employers here (who've been conspicuously absent from the hiring scene these last 2 years) were pioneers in offshoring, a third is seriously considering it and a 4th reportedly has already moved over 90% of their development offshore.
The failure rate for projects in the pre-offshoring era was already 2 out of 3, so unless they can do something we can't, augmenting that dismal rate with cultural, distance, and interlingual problems is liable to result in a lot of blowouts.
On the other hand, when you can save 50-75% on labor, it's a compelling incentive for them to keep trying.
Using Arab countries as an example wasn't the wisest choice. I too, have been hearing that they're on a fast-track pace to develop internal IT resources. They're not, however the only countries with a high youth/elder ratio, just the first that I could accurately recall. A little demographics research would have made for a better argument. Also, of course, the language (and in their case, alphabet) barriers are higher in Arab nations.
I'm all for countries with fast-growing internal IT needs. Bear in mind, that we're not talking the fate of the buggy-whip industry here. World-wide, IT needs are projected to grow for the forseeable future. The only issue that concerns me is when countries who are consuming little export much to the detriment of the workforces of countries who both produce and consume.
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
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Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
The one thing with our field is that the cost of entry is relatively low. After one year of training most programmers have learned enough to be productive. Try to find another engineering field where workers are productive after a year of training.


Associate Instructor - Hofstra University
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Michael Bronshteyn
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Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 85
The one thing with our field is that the cost of entry is relatively low. After one year of training most programmers have learned enough to be productive. Try to find another engineering field where workers are productive after a year of training.

I have not seen a good programmer, even a junior one, who has one year of training and is good. He can be productive though. But that reminds me my college professor who used to say "Worse than an idiot is an idiot with initiative". I am not claiming that one-year-training programmers are idiots, but I really don't see how they can produce good software solution, not just lines of code.


Michael
SCJP2
Thomas Paul
mister krabs
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 05, 2000
Posts: 13974
Originally posted by Michael Bronshteyn:
He can be productive though.
From a finance guy's point of view, poorly written code that works looks just like well written code that works. And there's no way for him to know that his maintenance costs are being driven up because his code base sucks.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Michael Bronshteyn:

I have not seen a good programmer, even a junior one, who has one year of training and is good.

Read Peopleware by DeMarco and Lister. For years they've been running coding simulations designed to gague developer ability. Below are my notes from this section of the book.
  • best to worst 10:1 ratio (page 45)
  • best to average 2.5:1 ratio (page 45)
  • better half to worse half 2:1 ratio (page 45)
  • above ratios apply to any metric: time, defects, etc (page 46)


  • There is no correlation to success from any of the following factors (page 47)
  • language: no effect (except for assembly)
  • experience: no effect, e.g. 10 vs 2 years, except under 6 months experience with the language used
  • defects: people with zero defects paid no performance penalty (in fact, took slightly less time then people with defects)
  • salary: very low correlation


  • In short, they said beyond the initial learning curve of a new language, time does not correlate to ability. This matches my own anecdotal experience. There are some people who were taught early and stopped learning. Additional years don't improve them much. There is a small handful which does keep learning. These people will actually improve with time, but because they are a very small minority, it's hard to see the correlation.
    --Mark
    Al Newman
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    Joined: Mar 30, 2003
    Posts: 716
    There is a small handful which does keep learning. These people will actually improve with time, but because they are a very small minority, it's hard to see the correlation.

    Hmmm, isn't that based upon a very old study, Mark? Seems to me that one is at least 2 decades old.
    If you see a person in the field who has made a major leap or two from their beginning bag of skills, maybe he/she is one of the 'learners'?
     
    I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
     
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