Startups like to think they’re immune from the trappings of the 9-to-5 rat race. And in many ways, they are: entrepreneurs, and not some Regional Manager in a distant office 1,000 miles away, make the rules. If you want to wear jeans every day to work, go for it. If you want to give employees 5 weeks vacation a year, there’s nothing stopping you. If you want an X-box in the office, why not?
But startups are not immune to many of the challenges facing traditional businesses. Take IT skills shortages, for example. The laws of supply and demand apply to a 2-person startup in Palo Alto just as they would in Peoria, IL.
For evidence, look no further than the fact that many businesses have IT job openings during a down economy that remain unfilled.
And that’s because job candidates lack the hot, in-demand skills that businesses are looking for; skills like mobile app development, cloud computing, business analytics, and even traditional roles like project management, which demand that employees understand increasingly complex software platforms.
In fact, we’d venture to say that these skills shortages may, in fact, be more acute with startups than classic brick-and-mortar firms. After all, startups are always on the cusp of the “next big thing.” In other words, a startup in Williamsburg, Brooklyn will be more likely to require a Web developer adroit in social media and mobile development than a manufacturing firm.
In fact, these types of skills gaps may be the biggest impediment to your startup’s growth.
Bottom line: startups need to go through their business plan and highlight the skills needed in 1, 5, and 10 years. They need to draw up explicit job descriptions, aggressively market the positions, and provide career development plans so new hires stay on. This article from The Huffington Post outlines the project management problems that most organizations face and offers excellent advice that can help solve those problems.