The vacation season is in full swing and this means unavoidable temporary staffing shortages in all industries. Especially afflicted by this is the IT industry, where experts that are crucial for performing certain tasks or projects are taking their well-deserved time off.
To illustrate the scale of the problem, let me just throw in some statistics. According to the Central Statistical Office, the IT industry in Poland is facing a shortage of at least 50,000 programmers although it is currently employing over a quarter million of them. The demand for this type of expertise on the European level may even reach 900,000 people. This means we have a difficult situation on our hands.
IT outsourcing to the rescue
One of the ways of dealing with this problem is outsourcing. Conveniently enough, thanks to the development of the IT industry, workers and employers have become more connected and less dependent on their geographical location. This allows companies to fill the void left by the vacation season with individuals skilled in the required field.
There are two situations when the skills of outsourced programmers are used. The first one is when an IT company requires a specialist in a very narrow field. Hiring a high-class expert in a traditional way for a single assignment can be time-consuming and expensive but outsourcing work to a one-time worker with the required set of skills and proven expertise is an alternative worth considering.
The second situation involves a temporary shortage of human resources, such as during a paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, maternity/paternity leave, etc. Replacing the possibly lengthy recruitment process with outsourcing benefits both the employer and the temporary employee. Specifically, it provides them with different perspectives and valuable experiences that are an important segment in the industry.
How outsourcing solves IT staff shortages during the vacation season
The best form of IT outsourcing is hiring an entire team of specialists who will complete a whole assignment or a part of it, taking full responsibility for the end result. The employer, in this case, can be an IT company developing a large product and outsourcing a specific module for development to an outside team. It can also be an organisation that is not necessarily a part of the industry and has its own IT resources that need support to accelerate product development. For instance, it could be a startup focused on growth but without the staffing to keep up with its rate.
As I said above, hiring an outside expert has multiple advantages. It is quicker, considering the fact that in-house recruitment may sometimes take months, while with outsourcing you get immediate access to an expert for a single project. This also means significantly fewer costs involved and more convenience in terms of simpler payment and skills guarantee.
This model of cooperation isn’t without its shortcomings either. The hired individual isn’t really a member of the team and such integration cannot be expected. Since this person usually isn’t physically present at the company’s premises, this means that communication with the employer and other team members is limited to messaging and video conferences.
For such an arrangement to be successful, two things need to happen. The employer needs to have clearly defined individual tasks in the project and the hired expert needs only to focus on carrying out these tasks, without having to work on the process. This is where hiring an entire hired team works best.
Things to keep in mind
In this process, there are a few things to consider. First of all, the project needs to be well-described with no open issues, as this will become the basis for payments. Secondly, the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) ensures confidentiality that is crucial for some clients’ competitive advantage. I also suggest using the services of a company that has been in this line of work for a long time.
The outsourcing method also requires work flexibility in various project management methods, high communication skills, a broad perspective, and an excellent understanding of the end product and the target market. The hirer should also have good skills in evaluating the intensity of work required to accomplish the tasks given to outside programmers.
Finally, having workers in the same time zone, although not necessary, facilitates easier and quicker communication inside the team itself.
The future of IT outsourcing
Considering the pace in which the technological advancements are moving and the fact that we are living in a technologically-centred era, it is completely unsurprising that the programmer is the most sought-after worker profile of today. As the data from the Central Statistical Office support, the demand for IT experts in Poland and Europe is growing rapidly.
This is why I’m a firm believer in a bright future of IT outsourcing, especially since it could enormously benefit smaller IT companies, as well as those that rely on technological solutions to succeed and remain successful.
The vacation season is the time when these companies face the biggest need to fill the void in their ranks, and also the best time to test out the outsourcing method. Outsourcing projects or parts of projects could save precious time, energy, and money while providing access to qualified workers. And who knows, maybe this way you discover someone worth keeping around for longer or at least the right person to call when the need arises again.
Robert Strzelecki, Chairman of the Board, TenderHut