10 Cs2633 Fit4 Talent Whitepaper Low Res Final 042210
White Paper Series: Cisco Fit4Talent
First in a Thought Leadership Series on Talent
Peter Joyce, Global Partner Talent Consultant
The Competitive Edge for the Coming Decade
We have seen a number of striking gyrations in cyclical
IT employment over the last decade. But according to
an IDC Skills Gap Research report and the Bain 2007
Global Job Market Analysis, there is a potential need for
nearly 3 million more skilled networking professionals
globally by the year 2012.1
The Competitive Edge for the Coming Decade
With a mix of other factors affecting the job market, Cisco channel partners may wonder
how they can maintain the talent base they need to succeed:
• New technologies have made skill requirements more complex.
• Soft/professional skills are increasingly important additions to technical ones.
• Training requirements have increased, as have the costs and need to minimize time
off the job.
• Demographic shifts are shrinking the working-age population worldwide (Figure 1).
This paper looks at what it will take for partners to win in the next 10 years:
What You Will Learn
• The significance of market forces over the last 10 years
We have seen a number of striking
gyrations in cyclical IT employment over • How these and other factors might affect talent availability in the next decade
the last decade. But according to an IDC • Why we must switch from talent acquisition to talent management to drive our
Skills Gap Research report and the Bain industry forward
2007 Global Job Market Analysis, there is
a potential need for nearly 3 million more Figure 1: Retirement-Age Population by 2025 (Percentage of population 65 years or older)
skilled networking professionals globally
by the year 2012.1
Under 5% 5% to 12.4% 12.5% to 20% Above 20%
Source: Deloitte Research/UN Population Division (http://esa.un.org/unpp/), It’s 2008: Do You Know Where Your Talent Is? Why Acquisi-
tion and Retention Strategies Don’t Work, p. 6
A Compressed Rate of Change in the Last Ten Years
Despite a couple of significant bumps, the IT workforce grew between 2000 and 2010.
The IT industry began the decade with more than 2.2 million workers, double the industry
workforce just a decade and a half earlier.2
In 2000, the Information Technology Association of America said that an incredible 800,000
skilled technology jobs were going unfilled in the United States due to a shortage of workers
with the necessary skills.3 Because of this employment need, people flocked to technology
education and training programs.
Unfortunately, just after that, the dot-com bust caused hiring freezes, layoffs, and
consolidations. In the years that followed, the industry was slow to rebound.
Still, technology continued to evolve dramatically, and skill requirements grew more complex. Firms began to
require IT professionals who could work and communicate effectively with colleagues in all departments, from
engineers to executives. A solid grasp of business basics, as well as an appreciation for how they drive changes
in IT initiatives, became almost as important as possessing core technology skills.
Then, a historic downturn from 2007 to 2010 caused the U.S. unemployment rate to end the decade at 10.1 percent,
according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Figure 2). Technology workers fared better as a group, with
unemployment at about 7 percent during the same period. Other countries and regions also saw double-digit
unemployment over the same period.
According to surveys by the Cisco® Partner Talent Program, many partners were challenged in finding qualified
talent during these 10 years, even during the downturns.4 Although there appeared to be candidates available,
the skill sets did not match partner requirements. It would appear that this “talent shortage” is a “skill shortage”
below the surface. What should we expect in this new decade?
Figure 2: United States Unemployment Rate
The Next 10 Years: The Only Thing That Is Certain Is Change
One thing is certain: The talent picture is still changing.
• We are slowly experiencing a graying of our workforce worldwide.
• Our pipeline is not as strong and vibrant as in the past.
• Technology is becoming more complex and more integrated into business operations. The result is a greater
demand for technical knowledge and business acumen.
• People and soft skills have become a core competency.
In the new decade, the combined forces of workforce decline and growth in demand will mean that IT employers
need to be creative in maintaining and growing their workforce.
Figure 3: Changes in Working-Age Population Worldwide, 1970 to 2010 and
2010 to 2050
The United States is facing a decline
in the full-time workforce as the baby
boomer cohort ages. Europe will face a
similar retirement spike in the face of a
declining population. Emerging markets
are experiencing shifts as well. In Russia,
for example, the working-age population
switched from a growth rate of 20 percent
to a 46 percent decline (Figure 3).5
Figure 4: Growth in U.S. Population by Age, 2000 to 2010
The United States has already experienced
this age shift, as those individuals in mid-
career (35 to 54 years old) have fueled
the growth of the senior ranks (those 55
years and older) (Figure 4). This trend is
projected to continue. Moreover, we will not
be able to rely on the pipeline of younger
workers to easily fill this gap.
Less Vibrant Academic and
Employers will also need to pay more
attention to their talent pipeline. Not only
will partners have to compete within the
networking industry for a smaller pool of
talent, but they will also vie with other industries for top talent coming into the pipeline. It is already clear that IT
and healthcare will struggle for top talent, since these two occupations are expected to grow the fastest over
the next decade.6
In the aftermath of the dot-com bust at the beginning of the decade, undergraduates stopped flocking to technology
programs. The impact was long lasting. Even by 2007, the number of undergraduate computer science majors had
fallen to half their peak levels.6
As we enter 2010, undergraduate enrollment in computer science is rising, according to the Computing Research
Association.2 Their report says:
• At the start of the 2009 academic year, the number of undergraduates choosing computer science majors was
up by 8 percent.
• Because it takes four years for an undergraduate to earn a degree, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded
last year continued to reflect past declines, dropping by another 10 percent.
• The number of two-year colleges offering degrees in computer science or information systems grew by about
15 percent during the first half of the 1990s, and the number of associate degrees awarded in these fields
grew from 7677 to 9152 over this period.
For networking-specific education, the number of certifications issued to date is approaching half a million. However,
strong demand for professionals with Cisco certifications currently leaves a worldwide market gap of 1 million
people and, as noted above, that is projected to grow.
Rising Skill Demands
On the employer side, we are expecting an increase in the demand for skilled and qualified talent, especially
in the network industry. According to the U.S. Board of Labor Statistics, employment in the information sector is
expected to increase by 4 percent, adding 118,100 jobs by 2018. However, the need for network systems and
data communications analysts is growing even faster, with an expected growth rate of 53 percent in the United
States, and 155,800 new jobs by 2018. The bureau says, “Network systems and data communications analysts
are projected to be the second-fastest-growing occupation in the economy. Demand for these workers will
increase as organizations continue to upgrade their information technology capacity and incorporate the newest
technologies. The growing reliance on wireless networks will result in a need for more network systems and data
communications analysts as well.”
Employment of network and computer systems administrators is expected to increase by 23 percent from
2008 to 2018. Again, the bureau notes, “Demand for these workers will increase as firms continue to invest in
new technologies. The increasing adoption of mobile technologies means that more establishments will use
the Internet to conduct business online. This growth translates into a need for systems administrators who
can help organizations use technology to communicate with employees, clients, and consumers. Growth will
also be driven by the increasing need for information security. As cyber attacks become more sophisticated,
demand will increase for workers with security skills.”
Much of this demand will be driven by significant advances in technology, including data center, mobility, voice, and
video. Because of these advances, the demand for individuals proficient in the design, installation, deployment,
and troubleshooting of complex converged networks is growing exponentially, according to a commissioned study
conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cisco (Figure 5). Based on 1500 written surveys sent to IT hiring
managers in 10 countries, the Forrester study points out that, “As the sophistication of the network increases…the
skills requirements for network professionals will also increase. Traditional positions within the network—such as
network architects, engineers, and administrators—require employees with more specialized skills and greater
levels of experience. At the same time, new job skills related to security, voice, wireless, and remote office work are
becoming critical to the functionality of the network.”7
Figure 5: Evolution of Skills Required of Network Professionals
In addition, as IT organizations have aligned
more closely with the businesses they
support, demand has grown for people
with business acumen. A recent survey
developed by technology staffing firm
Robert Half Technology revealed that
41 percent of CIOs polled said they are
placing greater emphasis today than five
years ago on knowledge of business
fundamentals for IT candidates.8
So while many IT professionals believe
their technical skills are sufficient, they may
struggle to move into leadership positions
without these additional skill sets.
What Will Be Required of Partners to Win in the Future?
Talent management will be critical to ensure that partners have the new and existing talent to meet rising technical
and business requirements. Partners will need to address the full talent lifecycle.
Best practices show that fit companies take a comprehensive approach to the management of talent. It is not
enough simply to invest in attracting good people. Without an effective onboarding program or a formal learning
and development process, a company not only marginalizes its hiring investments but also risks losing talent due
to a lack of engagement.
Figure 6: Cisco Fit4Talent and the Employee Lifecycle
Cisco Fit4Talent promotes and supports efforts along the
entire lifecycle of your employees, with an emphasis on business
alignment and leadership at all phases:
Phase 1, workforce and business planning, aligns your business
and talent strategies.
Phase 2, attraction and hiring, is when you identify and recruit
talent. Cisco resources help you define your brand and employee
value proposition. We also offer a jobs portal for partners and a
co-branded marketing library that supports your outreach efforts.
Phase 3, onboarding of new talent, involves assimilating your
new hires. This is an opportunity to introduce the hire to your
sales processes and Cisco resources. Look for our simple
quick-start list of Cisco information for the first 90 days.
Phase 4, learning and development, provides career development planning to develop strong skills, professional
growth, and employee satisfaction. Cisco is making the new SkillSoft e-learning courses for business acumen,
sales skills, and soft skills available free of charge to partners.
Phase 5, coaching and mentoring, builds skills for stronger talent and leadership skills. Moreover, it builds your
company’s internal development capacity and can help lower costs. Designed specifically for Cisco channel
partners, the Professional Career Accelerator (PCA) helps managers orient, develop, and retain top-performing
employees. The guidance and tools available through the PCA are designed to engage front-line supervisors in
the career development of the employees reporting to them and to supply immediate feedback on employees’
Phase 6, succession planning, identifies and develops talent for the future. Cisco succession planning enables
your organization to identify talented employees and provide education to develop them for future higher-level
responsibilities. Along with Cisco leadership training, it helps you build bench strength.
There are billions of talented people around the world. Some are already in your company. With the right support,
you can help your talent to grow:
• Redesign work to meet individual needs and increase engagement.
• Design and implement accelerated development and leadership programs.
• Use these programs to attract younger workers and extend the careers of midcareer and older workers.
Cisco Fit4Talent is designed to help you build a stronger team and take advantage of the changing rules of the
game as you:
• Get your talent in shape
• Train your talent to succeed
• Achieve greater results from a comprehensive approach and investment
• Achieve stronger professionals and performance