By Filipe Pacheco
The lack of qualified professionals is usually cited as one of the main pain points for IT employers in Brazil – especially foreign players arriving to the country eager to exploit the country’s expansive domestic market. As a direct consequence, competition for talent is intensifying and employers are becoming more savvy around the methods they use to attract and keep talent.
Where to find new professionals? How do you limit attrition? How to motivate them in the corporate environment? Where is the concentration of those young IT professionals? These are the most critical questions. Roseana Romualdo, co-founder of RHTEC “Recursos Humanos”, a Human Resources agency focused in the IT market in the country, has some direct guidance on dealing with these issues. Here’s what she told us recently:
NSAM: The lack of qualified workforce in the IT industry in Brazil is a major impediment to further growth of the sector in country. What are the main difficulties for businesses when it comes to retain an employee? And where is it indicated for them to go to find them?
Romualdo: First it is necessary to understand the dynamics and the processes of attracting and retaining talent in the IT area. When it comes to hiring, it is evident that the demand for professionals is much higher than the number of skilled labor available today, and that problem is even worse considering the low number of people who are graduating in tech areas. When we speak of new technologies, the scenario becomes even more complex.
We need more universities that keep pace with innovation in the IT area, offering courses compatible with the requirements of the market, what means prepared teachers with high level of knowledge and experience. There is, besides the problems with training, behavioral issues: young people need to seek improvement, and not only technical ones, but also those that consider facing new challenges that the market imposes. It is not enough just to know about programming anymore, you need to know how to relate to people and staff, understand the business of the company, seek creative solutions, have a good attitude.
The retention of employees will depend on how much they invest in their staff. You have to understand that people are different, and therefore, there are numerous actions that can be taken in that way such as:
- Internal leaders have to act as true mentors for the growth of the other professionals, by understanding their needs and, most importantly, giving them new challenges;
- Bring HR closer to the IT area, strengthening the business vision;
- Understand that a good working environment welcomes and provides the satisfaction of the employee;
- Provide opportunity for development, noting that his career, which is focused on developing technology experts, should be considered as a formula for technical and remuneration development.
NSAM: What are the main difficulties for tech and outsourcing companies to find young IT professionals today?
Romualdo: We believe that the biggest problem is the low level of training and qualifications of the candidates. Young people are hungry for knowledge, but universities are not always prepared to offer good content, which is the basis for market entry. It is very important that, when choosing a college, the student take into consideration all aspects that the school and the course has to offer. It is very common to hear from candidates of a internship that the choice of the college he or she decided to go was made by the proximity to home or work. This may be a requirement, but may also be a trap in the future. The choice should be based on quality above all.
NSAM: In which areas within the IT market in Brazil there is a larger deficit of young professionals?
Romualdo: The demand for programming professionals is very large, and technical knowledge is essential to good performance in that area. Thus we have two scenarios: young professionals that lack knowledge in new technologies for Web, for example, but also missing other ones to meet demands of mainframe technologies, which are older, but that support a greater number of data, which are commonly used by large financial institutions, for example.
Today’s market calls for professionals who not only have good technical skills, but who have good attitude, who have the posture to face difficulties and who are true partners of the companies.
NSAM: What are the courses in which the biggest number of IT professionals graduate in Brazil? In which regions are concentrated these “fresh” professionals?
Romualdo: Nowadays there are a number of courses with different names: Science or Computer Engineering, Computer Technology, Information Systems, among others. These courses offer a diversity of knowledge from the area of IT-oriented analysis, development, and infrastructure, and networks support. But everything depends on the university and the curriculum it offers. According to surveys, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have the highest number of vacancies, but the technology industry is present throughout the country. In the Federal District (Distrito Federal, where Brasília is located), Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul and even in the North and Northeast, there are several opportunities.
NSAM: Companies that are looking for young professionals should first look for them where?
Romualdo: First, partnerships with universities are important because they are the places where these talents are born. Today social networks also offer us an excellent channel to recognize good young professionals, but there are trade fairs, events, etc.. There are agents of integration, which bridge the gap between those looking for internships and the companies which are looking for them, such as CIEE (Centro de Integração Empresa-Escola, focused in helping companies to find young professionals) and others. We must go where the company is, and the young professionals have to show their own history and what they have to offer.
NSAM: What are the advantages for a young professional starting now his or her IT career in doing an internship or a trainee program?
Romualdo: We believe that students should look for an internship as soon as possible. That way, before they graduate, they will have a good view of the area and can, therefore, better visualize their real vocation: to act in programming, analysis, business, etc..
NSAM: What are the main differences, from the perspective of the employer and of the employee, of an intership and a trainee program in IT?
Romualdo: Both offer a great chance to start a career in this field. The main difference in that a trainee program, usually, already have a proposal or a plan for a career development, where the young professional can, through planning, follow a model where one can get to management position, for example. The internship is held during college or technical school, and at the end of it, the contract will be terminated and a commitment can happen, but is not mandatory. The Trainee program is generally offered to the newly formed or who is finishing his degree. The difference depends on the employer’s plan regarding the management of people and their demands. Nowadays it is important that companies invest in young professionals.
NSAM: What advice would you give to a young professional who now seeking for a first job in the IT industry?
Romualdo: I think it is mandatory to remember that a good IT professional should be tuned, very updated and should always pursue his or her own development, regardless of what the company offers. Today’s market calls for professionals who not only have good technical skills, but who have good attitude, who have the posture to face difficulties and who are true partners of the companies. The written and verbal communication skills are also key aspects that must be taken into account. Another point is that seeking good education is a life project, and must be taken seriously. The “call” for the area is part of this choice, and is fundamental to the work to be done with pleasure. There’s no point do the “trendy graduation” if later you cannot enjoy this investment satisfactorily. The loss will be very large, just as much as the further frustration. Our country is starved for talent in many areas, so it is a good time for a good choice.