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Warning: Talent Cliff Ahead—Part 1.5

Warning: Talent Cliff Ahead—Part 1.5

The Looming Technology Workforce Shortage Continued: The Challenge for 2013

A preface from Planview

In part 1 of this series, SPI Research describes the “trifecta of external forces that are creating the talent cliff”. According to the 2013 PS Maturity™ Benchmark for professional services, this is becoming an increasingly important and urgent topic. This post is a continuation of the original that qualifies this sense of urgency.

Part 2 of this article actually continues on the SPIglass Website in Warning: Talent Cliff Ahead ‒‒ Part 2. Planview sincerely thanks SPI Research for this informative contribution.

In professional services with IT, software as a service, hardware, networking services and management consultancies depending on individuals with strong technology backgrounds, the talent cliff becomes the most important issue facing the market.

As evidenced in the 2013 PS Maturity Benchmark, talent management is the most important challenge according to 234 companies that completed the survey in the 4th quarter of 2012. The No. 1 challenge in 2011 of “supporting rapid growth and expansion” has been surpassed in 2012 by “talent management,” as outlined in Table 1.

Two years ago, PS executives were mainly concerned with sales, given the prior three years of the economic downturn. Last year, with improved sales and record year-over-year revenue growth of 13.5 percent, the focus turned to service execution. That meant efficiently delivering more projects, which led to higher revenue growth. In 2012, because of the success of the previous two years, the foremost challenge shifted to talent management. The ability to find, hire and engage a high-quality consulting workforce has become the primary concern.

Year-over-year Change in Talent Management Challenges (image version)
Table 1. Year-over-year Change in Talent
Management Challenges (image version)
Year-over-year Change in Talent Management Challenges (text version)

The second-most critical challenge found in this benchmark is improving quality and consistency. Higher-quality services require high-caliber consultants, and generally required skills are based on problem-solving abilities, typically found in individuals with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) background.

Populations in the U.S. and other developed nations continue to grow. Educational systems continue to graduate students, and thousands of people immigrate to the U.S. and other developed countries every day. Unfortunately, the balance of supply and demand for individuals with the skills necessary to succeed in technical disciplines is lacking, and without a major commitment from federal, state and local agencies, developed countries, especially the U.S., will suffer over the long-term.

Insights and Preventive Actions to Consider in Avoiding the Talent Cliff

Continue reading this article on SPIglass in the article, Warning: Talent Cliff Ahead ‒‒ Part 2.

A Prolog From Planview: Additional Materials for Project-Based Service Organizations

In the continuation of this article, SPI Research describes best-practices in personnel enlistment and talent satisfaction. For those involved in consulting services and operations, recruitment will be a stop-gap but not necessarily a solution. For individuals looking to combat the talent cliff with purpose-built technologies, these web articles and research reports are a resource developed for your interests:

Related article: Warning: Talent Cliff Ahead — Part 1

Sample Report Charts

Table 1. Year-over-year Change in Talent Management Challenges

Challenge 2011 2012 Change
Talent management 4.13 4.28 3.7%
Improve quality and consistency 4.00 4.20 5.1%
Improve sales and marketing 3.99 4.18 4.8%
Achieve revenue and margin targets 4.06 4.18 2.8%
Support rapid growth and expansion 4.15 4.09 -1.5%
Improve/expand portfolio and markets 3.71 3.82 2.7%
Alignment between functions or groups 3.60 3.72 3.2%
Improve knowledge management 3.51 3.63 3.3%
Average 3.89 4.01 3.0%
Source: Service Performace Insight, February 2013
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Jeanne Urich
Written By
Jeanne Urich, Managing Director, Service Performance Insight (SPI) is a global research, consulting and training organization dedicated to helping professional service organizations (PSOs) make quantum improvements in productivity and profit. In 2007, SPI developed the PS Maturity Model™ as a strategic planning and management framework. It is now the industry-leading performance improvement tool used by over 6,000 service and project-oriented organizations to chart their course to service excellence. @SPI_Research (Jeanne Urich on Twitter)