Sunday, September 18, 2011

Older Workers in the Tech Industry Left in the Dark

Tech hiring is tough on veteran workers. Keeping up with the latest gets ever-harder. (Boston Globe, 9/18/2011)

Excerpt: The high-tech labor market may be on fire, but not for workers like Smith, who haven’t kept up to date and have found that skills that kept them working just a few years ago are no longer in demand. Even as some firms decry a looming labor shortage in the industry, many educated, experienced, and technically savvy workers are finding themselves shut out of the latest tech boom.

Smith, for instance, recently got a call from John Hancock Financial Services, but the conversation ended quickly when the hiring manager found out he didn’t know the .NET framework for Microsoft Windows.

“The prospects are pretty bleak for what I’m doing,’’ Smith said.

Such workers represent a dark side of tech, an industry in which skills and people can quickly become obsolete and some companies, believing high unemployment will give them the pick of ready-to-produce workers, don’t provide training. The ability to learn new skills is rarely at the top of a recruiter’s job orders; many companies demand candidates with skills that perfectly match their requirements.

“They’ll give us literally a laundry list of 15 technologies,’’ said John McBride, vice president of sales at the Needham IT firm Syrinx Consulting. “If [candidates] don’t know one or two pieces, then they’re down.

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