IT specialists for SMEs: Tips for the search

IT-Fachkräfte für den Mittelstand - Tipps für die Suche nach IT-Fachkräften

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January 6, 2023

IT specialists for SMEs: Tips for the search

IT Staff

Shortage of IT specialists in Germany

All of Europe is suffering from an acute shortage of IT specialists. For example, Germany alone lacks around 137,000 IT specialists across all industries, according to a study by the digital association Bitkom e.V.. Successfully filling an IT vacancy takes an average of 7.1 months. In addition to cost-intensive recruiting measures, unfilled positions also cause considerable damage. A lack of expertise and capacity can lead to stalled digitization progress, a halt to existing or new IT projects, damage to the company’s image due to security breaches, etc.

The constantly high demand of IT experts ensures that small and medium-sized businesses are at a disadvantage in the IT sector compared to large corporations, which entice them with well-known brands and more attractive conditions. In order to ensure their own competitiveness and innovative strength, it is extremely important for SMEs to use the right strategies to attract IT specialists and build high-performance IT teams.

Tips for finding IT professionals

Many companies fail in their search for IT specialists due to the shortage of skilled workers and the resulting high competition for the best talent. To ensure that no valuable time is lost in the recruiting process and that expectations on the candidate and company side are clearly formulated from the outset, a structured and disciplined approach is crucial.

Formulation of precise requirement profiles

The shortage of skilled workers means that IT specialists can choose between thousands of job offers. In order to attract attention, HR managers must formulate the requirements profile for an IT specialist as precisely as possible in cooperation with the IT department. What personal requirements, hard skills and soft skills should a dream candidate bring to the table?

IT professionals are interested in the IT infrastructure relevant to their work, the latest technologies, frameworks for teamwork, and current and future development opportunities. SMBs need to be able to showcase their own skills in IT to their advantage. In addition to a competitive salary, potential candidates are also interested in other benefits, such as the option of home office, company pension plan, etc.

Active Sourcing

Active sourcing stands for the direct approach of promising candidates and is an increasingly popular way to counter the shortage of skilled workers and recruit experts in the field of IT for medium-sized businesses. This also includes poaching IT professionals with sought-after specialist knowledge from competitors.

Employee leasing

Temporary work, loaned employment or employee leasing means that an IT expert is leased to a third party for a limited period of time in return for payment by means of a personnel service provider. However, the availability of IT specialists is limited due to the high demand. In addition, various legal requirements must be complied with in every case. Furthermore, this “recruitment” option does not offer a permanent solution for establishing professional IT teams in the long term.

Direct staffing

Direct staffing refers to the placement of suitable candidates by a personnel service provider/headhunter. The not inconsiderable placement fee that is incurred when the candidate is hired should not be disregarded. Likewise, this option does not necessarily guarantee an optimal and long-term cooperation.


Nearshoring of IT is becoming increasingly established in the SME sector. Outsourcing IT tasks to nearby foreign countries – such as Poland, Spain, Romania, Italy and Bulgaria – is the first choice for many SMEs when it comes to countering the shortage of skilled workers and collaborating with IT specialists at external locations due to minor cultural differences. While this creates additional capacity, there may no longer be a cost advantage.


Since the shortage of IT specialists means that the success rate for hiring an IT specialist on site is extremely low, despite the high expenditure of time and resources, it is worthwhile for small and medium-sized companies to consider IT outsourcing as an answer to the shortage of specialists.
In outsourcing, services that were previously provided by in-house IT specialists are outsourced to an external IT service provider. In addition to long-term projects, this also includes time-limited projects and the possibility of spontaneously accessing additional capacities. The aim is to counter the shortage of IT specialists without having to accept long-term losses in service depth and quality. In addition to reduced expenses for personnel, office and equipment, IT outsourcing offers many other advantages. Internal IT managers take over control functions and have more time to focus on their core tasks and strategic development.

Conclusion – Countering the shortage of skilled IT experts through outsourcing

In order for SMEs to remain internationally competitive despite a shortage of skilled workers, it is essential to seize the opportunities offered by globalization and utilize the know-how of IT specialists from abroad. IT outsourcing service providers act as valuable partners, mediating between IT experts and decision-makers in Western companies. Complementing or replacing conventional recruiting measures with outsourcing, enables the focus on the essentials: successfully implementing digital products, services and new business models.