Don’t Be That Company: There’s No IT Talent In Metro Detroit

Originally posted 2015-07-20 09:05:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

If I show up at your door, chances are you did something to bring me there.” – Martin Blank

“Y’all gonna make me lose my mind…up in HERE, up in here” – DMX

Two articles came out recently, and they pushed me over the edge.

It’s time for a good old-fashioned Don’t Be That Guy rant, and this one’s even going to be a two-parter, because there are two topics deeply bound together.

The targets?

Companies who are (falsely) whining that there is no IT talent here in the metro Detroit area.  People who are (falsely) whining that there are no good IT jobs in the metro Detroit area.  Even have a few choice phrases for good old “One Tough Nerd” Governor Snyder.

So let’s get started with the annoying pile of filth being spewed by companies in the metro Detroit area that there’s no skilled information technology talent here, because that’s the biggest lie, and perhaps the most damaging set of stories being told right now hurting the area…

On January 24th, a story came out in the Detroit News titled “Demand high for IT pros in Detroit area, qualified workers lacking“.  You can click here to read it yourself.

In that article, it states that 80% of companies are looking to expand their IT staff (which is great news), but then it also says that 67% of those hiring…actually, let’s be smart about this.  Here’s the exact quote:

67 percent of Detroit hiring professionals said it’s somewhat or very challenging to find skilled IT professionals today. The hardest positions to fill are in networking, help desk/technical support and security

To keep things relatively clean, let me sum up my assessment of that by saying “That is wholly comprised of fecal matter coming from a male bovine”.

But wait, there’s more.

tony1Michigan Governor Rick Snyder wants to re-write immigration law for Detroit.  Because someone has obviously convinced him that all of that male bovine fecal matter is actually a bowl full of frosted flakes and he’s eating it up and asking for more, he wants the government to basically allow the entire category of EB-2 visas (a designation for those with advanced degrees, or who show exceptional ability in science, arts or business) nation-wide to come to Detroit.  In fact, he wants the entire rest of the country to give up their allotment of those visa designations…and then add more.  There are only 40,000 currently available year to year, and Snyder wants 50,000 available for Detroit.

It makes for a great bar conversation (or radio – we talked about this on our show this past Monday night, which you can listen to by clicking here), but it’s neither practical nor needed, Governor.

Because let’s get to the heart of the problem here, and start spraying some Febreeze around the room to get rid of that smell.

Let’s start with the “as ye reap, so shall ye sow” and “karma” factors, because hey companies…you created a huge chunk of this problem yourselves.

Go hire a unicorn, I’m busy

Remember a few years ago when you were slashing IT budgets left and right, cutting things to the bare bones?  How for the past few years you’ve been putting out ridiculous job postings looking for over-the-top qualified candidates with immense skillsets to take $30,000 a year jobs?  Those across the board 10% pay reductions that you crammed down people’s throats again and Again and AGAIN and made them never want to work for you again once they could find something better?

Yeah, well, you forced a lot of really talented people to leave the state to go find work elsewhere, or to just get out of the information technology business entirely.  You burned so many bridges that there are people out there who will simply never trust you again, let alone willingly come work for you.

You did this to yourselves.

And what about those “purple squirrel” job postings?  Those really ludicrous job postings that ask for skillsets that are physically impossible for any one person to have? We get it, you ask for the world and expect a recruiting firm or your own HR folks to work miracles, but it doesn’t happen.  And then you go whining to the press about how “there’s no talent!”, and, well, you can suck it, pal.

Sure, there’s a shortage in some skillsets – there’s not a recruiter in our group that’s not hunting hard and heavy for .NET and mobile app developers.  Hell, it’s become a running joke every week on our radio show and in almost every post we write.

But what are you doing to solve the problem?

I know, that’s a really radical concept for you dearest companies, but it’s your problem, and so what are you doing to solve it?

Are you taking advantage of any of the programs offered by the state of Michigan to retrain your existing staff using grant money?  No, you’re probably not.

Are you doing what Detroit Labs is doing with their Apprentice program?  Creating their own pool of candidates by paying people to learn exactly what they need them to learn and then giving them a job?  No, you’re probably not.

Are you using resources like New Horizons or Grand Circus, to quickly and effectively get your existing staff up to speed on the latest technologies through a continuous learning and education program?  No, you’re probably not.

Are you giving your staff the time to learn new things on their own, or building in things like budgets for conferences and training seminars into your overall plans?  No, you’re probably not.

Are you actually building reasonable job descriptions and budgeting salaries accurately for what those positions should be paid in today’s market?  No, you’re probably not.

victimcardAre you coming to our events, where you can actually meet people face to face who are looking for a job in IT, and 9 times out of 10 you can get immediate feedback from someone else in the room who knows the person well, has probably worked with them in the past, and can help you make the right hiring decisions?  Well, some of you are.  But most of you aren’t.  Especially not the ones I read whining about the lack of talent.

Because that’s all you are doing – whining.  You’re playing the victim and the martyr, because gee, you’d really like to hire a whole bunch of people, but there just aren’t the qualified candidates out there to fill those roles.

Fecal matter.  Bovine.  Film at 11.

I’m taking away your damned victim card and holding you accountable for your problems and challenges.

You helped create this mess, and you have it easily within your abilities to solve it, too.

Start taking some initiative and fixing this mess yourself.  You’re getting breaks that a number of companies who have been downtown for years aren’t getting.  Stop being a freeloading vacuum paying little to no taxes after you moved downtown to be all “cool” and actually start doing something positive.  In most cases, you’re barely paying taxes to help improve the infrastructure of the area, so start taking some of those profits I’m reading about every other day in the local press and freaking pay people a real salary, provide real healthcare and benefits, and invest in the god damned future of this entire metropolitan area before I start calling you out one by one on all of the practices that people have told me in confidence that are oh so rampant in the area’s companies.  Yeah, I hear all about the back room deals and conversations that would make even the most collusive, scheming and evil Silicon Valley executives sit back and say “Damn, that’s over the top”.

Stop acting like a 13 year old girl on Facebook – you do not get to create the problem, and then bitch and whine about the problem to everyone who will pay attention to you.  Nobody needs your crap.

Especially not the people of the metro Detroit information technology community, who you’re hurting every day with this nonsense.

Consider this an open invitation to any and all of those companies who claim there’s no IT talent here in the metro Detroit area – come to ANY of our events (which, again, are all completely free and are listed out at and I will make it my personal mission to do everything in my power to help you get those roles filled.  The caveat though is that you have to be ready for me to be bluntly honest with you.

417534_10151356452057005_1479302454_nYou want to really help solve your problem?  We’ve got another one of our Pink Slip Party events coming up on March 13th, 2013 at St Andrews Hall.  Drop us a note at and tell us you want to step up and become a sponsor, and we’ll get you front and center with the area’s best and brightest.  The two we did last year each had more than 700 people at them.  Most looking for jobs.  All willing to listen and have a conversation if nothing else.  And before anyone starts bitching that “Oh, this rant was all just a pitch for sponsors” – shut the hell up right now.  We don’t make a dime off of this – we don’t charge to come to our events, we don’t get kickbacks, and every penny of sponsor money gets burned on the bar, the food, the room fees and the rest of the night’s event.  Don’t want to sponsor?  Doesn’t matter – still plan on being there, and we’ll still do what we can to help you…but know that “Us 101” is that we put our focus on helping those who are committed to making things suck less.

And to Governor Snyder…well, we’ve certainly enjoyed speaking at all of the MEDC Shifting Gears events we’ve been a part of for the last few years, and you directly asked us one day at one of those events to tell you what you could do to help.  Here’s what you can do to help – stop putting the focus on external solutions to the problems at hand.  Instead of offering companies an option that allows them to keep the current population vastly underemployed, underpaid, and just trying to build better lives for themselves and getting gut-punched every time some story like this comes out.  We’ve invited you to our events before as well…and we get it, you’re a very busy man with a very hectic schedule…but come see it for yourself, sir.  The people are here.  The talent is here.  The time is now to truly make your mark and stop letting these companies keep the citizens of this state…your demographic and voters, by the way…under their collective thumb.  Hold them accountable for the problems they’ve created themselves, and stop letting them act like a petulant child who has just deliberately broken their own favorite toy and now demands that you go buy them another shiny new version without any repercussions whatsoever.

Everyone needs to be held accountable for their own actions.  And don’t think that the companies and the Governor are the only ones to blame here.  Oh no, there are some of you people out there that are creating a bad perception of the information technology community out here as well, and you’re the focus of Part II of this rant.  So before you start grabbing the pitchforks and torches on your way downtown, you’d better make sure you read that one, too:

  1. Paul Chandler says

    Dave, this was one of your best!!! I hope you cc’ed governor Synder…

  2. janderson1129 says

    Spot on!

  3. Great job hope you copied Gov. Snyder and his Lt. Gov

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