The pandemic exposed and worsened our clients’ challenges in attracting and retaining the necessary depth of technical staff to conduct their retail modernization initiatives.
The most difficult part of being a CIO of a mid-sized retailer is staffing. We talked to Lori Dermer, President of Montreal-based recruiting firm Farla: “The deck is stacked against mid-sized retailer firms, especially those that are not startups,” she said when we spoke recently. “Their older, trusted techs are retiring. There are dozens of open jobs for every applicant. A retailer will have a great deal of difficulty recruiting in this labor market.”
“The supply demand curve is way out of whack and is likely to remain so,” said Dermer. “Worse, the computer science graduates entering the labor force have a set of values that run counter to most opportunities in retailing.”
“They want to hear about a vision, the more disruptive the better,” said Lori. “And they will want to be impressed by the company leadership, the retailer’s culture, and its commitment to do good in the world. Their salary demands are often unrealistic and unsustainable. And they do not understand why they are not receiving six figure incomes after proving themselves.”
Yet mid-sized retailers cannot undertake a retail modernization project without the skillset they possess. The solution is to rely on firms like Makira to give them the depth they need to augment the tech staff they can retain.
From Makira’s point of view, contracted work is the best way to address the tech staffing dilemma. “Anyone with a hint of entrepreneurial interest can set themselves up in business, can work at home, and work as much as they want. That is the way it is going, especially in a space like retail which is rarely on the top of the desirability list for techs.” Dermer told us. “That’s why firms like Makira are smart to develop their deep bench of experienced, clear thinking, and skillful resources.”