Written by Tim Brogan on Jul 26, 2017

Developing a Talent for IT Talent Acquisition

In the first blog post in this series, we asked leading IT executives Bill Thirsk, VP of IT/CIO of Marist College and Jacky Wright, Corporate VP of Microsoft how they have addressed talent retention, an issue that has plagued IT. Both Bill and Jacky have seen success building a “value communication” culture in their organizations.

That said, sometimes, despite the best culture and practices, talent leaves. Brendan McGowan, CIO Executive Council Global Media Bureau and Client Research Manager, says, “92%  of IT leaders self-report that they will require IT Talent. At the same time, a mere 8% of them report that they have a robust, strong it talent pipeline” So how do you fill that gap?

“Be out there.” said Jacky, “To reach digital natives, you need to engage with social media channels.  Branding is extremely important. Tweet, blog and make sure you build a strong brand.  Also, include community outreach in your strategy. By serving as role models, we can also ensure that diversity and inclusion are factored into recruiting and hiring.”

Moore's Law Quote

According to Pew Research Center, millennials are the largest living generation and this means their workplace presence will only continue to grow. Both Jacky and Bill recognize this fact and were emphatic that millennials have an important role to play in the IT workplace.

Jacky notes, “The younger generation is the future. They want to work with a company which has a strong mission and purpose. At Microsoft, we make sure everyone understands that we want to ‘empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.’”

“{My Father} lovingly – but sarcastically – reminded me that at some point my very broad mind and slim waist were destined to change places.” Bill recounted, “I do not believe it is the millennials that are the problem, I believe it is us.  We, as a generation, don’t like inconvenience, and the younger employees we hire and maintain are sometimes viewed as such.”

Bill added, “Millennial employees push us, question us, make demands of us, and are just as hard to manage as we were at the same age. To hire and keep millennials,” he explained, “You must let them know that their investment in you (yes, they don’t see it the other way) will yield a solid financial future, an appropriate work/life integration, and many opportunities to post their exploits on Facebook and LinkedIn.”

To make a long story short; good talent revolves around quality culture. Build good culture to foster good and keep talent or a Bill puts it, “Never give a good employee a reason to leave.” Don’t fear Millennials, embrace future talent with your value-driven culture.

If you found this post interesting and you want to learn more about IT talent or want to know when our 2017 IT Talent Report is released,  fill out the form below. You will be “In the Know” for the latest advice and insights from CEC members and IT leaders, brought to you by the CEC staff.

Jacky Wright, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft

As Corporate Vice President of Microsoft IT Strategic Enterprise Services (SESIT), Jacky Wright leads an organization that drives product and operational excellence, agility, and customer centricity across the Company.

Jacky inspires teams to drive innovation, develop enterprise technology solutions, and transform business models. She has created deep partnerships between IT and product engineering to drive digital transformation of customer experiences leveraging Microsoft Azure, Office365, PowerBI and Skype for Business, among others.

She has been widely recognized for her many contributions in technology and diversity, including an honorary doctorate from Aston University, and inclusion on the Britain’s Powerlist 100 of Most Influential People, the Top 100 BAME Leaders in Business, and Savoy Magazine’s Top Women list.


Bill Thirsk, Vice President of Information Technology and CIO, Marist College

Bill Thirsk oversees all areas of information technology at Marist College.  He was named one of Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leaders in 2013.

Bill is a recognized expert in higher education technology management and enterprise resource planning (ERP), providing insights to internationally recognized publications such as The Wall Street Journal, IBM Systems Magazine, NPR, CIO, and Computerworld.

Additionally, Bill has presented to large global audiences at conferences such as IBM Pulse, Ellucian Live, and the Network World Open Network Exchange (ONX).

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