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Low-value tech hires in 2013
Thu, 24th Jan 2013
FYI, this story is more than a year old

While every employee potentially adds value to a company, not every skillset is the same.

A simple, intuitive rule of thumb, as evidenced by responses from the nearly 1,100 tech-focused hiring pros recently surveyed by Dice.

The less evolved the set of skills, the less experienced the employee, the lower on the priority list when it comes to hiring in the tech department.

Here’s the recruiting and hiring pros’ 2013 list of five lower-priority hires:

5. Entry-level talent

As in every other niche, tech professionals have to start somewhere. Anecdotally, recruiters and hiring managers reminded us that first-wrung hires not only need core attributes like passion, creativity and self-motivation, they can also need a bachelor’s degree and more than a passing familiarity with advanced skills.

4. Quality assurance

Every process, every product is only as desirable as it ranks high in quality. QA-related job postings remain plentiful on Dice as 2013 begins.

The moral to the story: Right now if you’re an QA professional, even in places where the job market might look relatively tougher, it’s still pretty good.

3. Mainframe

This ranking comes with a caveat: While online and mobile development opportunities have exploded, getting all the attention among the tech-focused, mainframes remain indispensable to huge government agencies, Fortune 100 financial institutions and the world’s largest airlines.

While the need for new hires has dwindled, the need is still palpable – and likely to grow as a generation of mainframe programmers hit retirement age.

2. Support personnel

The unemployment rate for computer support specialists was six percent in the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While that’s the highest rate amongst tech professionals, it’s been improving.

There’s a caveat: As more companies shift to the cloud for IT needs and more support staff work in the field using mobile devices, this skillset will evolve, amping up the need for quality hires to service end users.

1. Administrative

While hiring pros say finding the sets of helping hands to work behind the scenes ranks as their lowest priority entering 2013, that doesn’t mean the hiring criteria isn’t demanding – everything from Lotus Notes to Excel to SAP invoice-processing skills.

Just because becoming a PowerPoint “power user” is easier to do than developing the next PowerPoint program, doesn’t mean these cogs in the machine aren’t vital.

Remember, the fact that a particular position isn’t a hiring priority this year doesn’t make it a job without value – just ask any tech professional that works on a team – everyone contributes.

By Alice Hill, MD, & president, Dice Labs

Do you agree with the's low-priority tech hire predictions for 2013? Tell us your thoughts below