In 2001 Australia’s technology industry faced recession after the dotcom crash. I interviewed Professor Michael Vitale of the Australian Graduate School of Management for The Australian Financial Review about hiring skilled workers in a downturn.

His words are just as relevant today as we pull out of another recession:

The main difference between IT companies and the rest of the economy lies in the ongoing, severe shortage of people with the right mix of talent, skills and experience, Vitale says.

It has been going on for some time and shows no sign of abating. The recession might see some companies slow or halt their recruiting, but that’s just like a starving person skipping a few meals – at the end of the day they’ll still be undernourished”, he says.

Importantly, Vitale says despite a severe shortage of talented, skilled, experienced IT workers, there’s no room for compromise.

“Every word in that phrase is important. IT workers need to be talented, skilled and experienced. Anything less won’t do. The shortage doesn’t mean you should be any more tolerant of people who aren’t performing.”

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