53 man roster

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For any of you that are football fans, the opening of training camp and the beginning of preseason is most likely earning some of your attention.  Football teams are engaged in the annual event of evaluating talent, pushing themselves during grueling workouts and making plans for the upcoming regular season. Unproven players are engaged in a battle to not only make the 53 man roster, but hopefully earn some playing time and the most talented of these newbies often serve to push older veterans to step up their game. Star performers or not. And if you’re lucky, the young upstarts serve to deepen your ongoing bench for the long grueling season.

A similar phenomena often occurs when companies begin to hire new talent (new college grads, experienced professionals) coming out of an economic downturn. This is especially important for those companies that begin to hire for roles in technology, since management is constantly looking for technology and process improvement to squeeze out more profits. With stable employment at a premium, a significant number of talented technology professionals have been patient and tried not to rock the boat in the last 24 months. But as the recovery gains legs, young labor movement will most likely become more fluid.

Although my Thought Ensemble teammate Jim Smelley blogged that global IT spend will not recover as quickly as it dropped, it’s interesting to wonder how the continued recovery will begin to play out with corporate IT hiring.  Will companies choose to hire less experienced, cheaper talent to keep costs down as they ramp up resources on any new work/projects? Furthermore, will there be a significant movement of folks in the 4-7 year range that have been dissatisfied with their current employers, but are talented enough to pursue other opportunities?  These are the people that often serve to deepen your young management bench.

To date, I’ve personally seen a lot of movement at the more senior levels of IT management (VPs, CTOs, CIOs)in the last 2 months. This might be something of a predecessor for new strategic planning activities within IT departments. Similar to a coach being hired by an NFL team, new IT executives bring new energy and new philosophies, and possibly, their favored “players” from previous teams.  If the analogy holds, this might indicate that technology hiring would start to tick up as these newly established IT executives settle into their roles and begin to finalize their new playbook. Another interesting part will be how these executives ramp up their spending on offshoring and contractor/consulting services, often used as a way to maximize results with a lower fixed cost. And how this will all of this impact incumbent staffers? Will they get on board and step up their game or look for their own opportunities to move upwards and out?

I’m not willing to go against the analysts predictions in terms of the speed of the recovery, but it does appear from what I’ve seen that their could be some significant 53 man roster shuffling in the next 12 months or so.

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