Re: Poor IT Management, Lazy HR
I want to echo the notion that poor management is part of the problem. My personal observations don't encompass IT hiring in general, of course, but talking to people I know who work at some very big tech companies, I've heard several chronic managerial products that much up hiring, including
-- Too little communication. Marketing wants to change something at the last minute and doesn't appreciate what this entails for engineering. Engineering is stretched too thin because its budget was established under the assumption that marketing won't change its schedule every other day. Brand starts to get angry because Engineering makes a change that Marketing requested but that Brand wasn't included on. Engineering makes a mistake but doesn't want to own up to it because Engineering is already catching heat from Marketing and Brand. And so on. There's this quixotic notion that the hiring budgets established at the beginning of the quarter will be adequate for all of the managerial disarray that follows.
-- Quarterly goals. Too often, a manager realizes that everything is going to hell because he (or his bosses or collaborator) hasn't planned adequately. That person might realize a need to hire more people. But that manager's bonus (or perhaps his boss's) depends in some way on projects getting rolled out on budget-- so no hires are made. Sometimes, the manager plans to switch jobs soon anyway, because his job is a nightmare. In this scenario, achieving that bonus, even if it screws up long-term company plans, is a way to pad the transition. Because of the aforementioned communication problems, this sort of self-serving management goes undetected by superiors who are actually invested in the company's success, and so on.
-- S--- rolls downhill. People work ridiculous hours because their bosses aren't communicating, are protecting quarterly budget goals, aren't listening, etc. Some people get burned out, some of them very talented. More money is spent on recruiting efforts-- money that might have been better spent just hiring another person to begin with and retaining a valued employee. And so on.
-- Contract workers get abused. Because of all the disarray, people contracts for specific jobs get pressured into broader roles. Sometimes this results in contracts being illegally denied OT and health benefits (because they shouldn't be classified as contract workers anymore), but the employee, hopeful he'll be given a full-time position, never challenges anything.
Again, I know not all companies are like this. Many of my friend who work in IT have very satisfying jobs, with great pay, benefits, bosses and co-workers. But more than a few other friends and acquaintances have relayed horror stories along the lines of what I described above. Perhaps a talent shortage is one of the problems facing IT, but good old corporate bureaucracy and poor management play roles too.