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As IT pros from the Baby Boomer generation retire, they are taking some important skills with them, including mainframe skills.  Today, mainframe is hardly considered a “sexy” tech niche, but for large corporations, mainframe is still the best way to process information and keep it secure. In many cases, proprietary mainframe code can’t be efficiently or effectively migrated to new systems so mainframe is actually the future.  Companies that are firmly invested in mainframe face a major obstacle: a major shortage of mainframe talent in the job market.

The Mainframe Skill Gap

There was a time when mainframe was a core tenant of computer science curriculum, but current curricula rarely focus on mainframe.  This means that recent graduates are not up to speed on mainframe unless they went out of their way to learn about it on their own or through internships.  When there is a lack of skills in the immediate market, the next logical step to replacing retired mainframe pros is to turn overseas. However, offshore mainframe skills are generally not up to par with the needs of American business.  This leaves companies that rely on mainframe in a unique (and challenging) position.

How Millennials Can Bridge The Mainframe Gap

The strategy that most businesses focus on to overcome the mainframe skill gap is to turn to young tech pros who have been exposed to mainframe and invest in developing those employees’ skills.  Many companies are even hiring Millennials who haven’t been exposed to mainframe, but who possess a solid grasp of technology and the important soft skills needed to succeed.

According to CIO, this approach is actually quite successful. Employers who can identify high-potential Millennials spend time promoting mainframe in the recruiting process, focusing on the benefits of working with mainframe and the long-term opportunities available to them in the market. This naturally “sways” them towards exploring the possibilities.

To help them arrive at “yes,” savvy companies play to the Millennial desire to make a major impact on the companies they work for. It can be difficult for some to see how they would do that in a large corporation, but mainframe provides them with that opportunity.  From their first day, they become critical to the operational success of the organization, and they will make a much greater contribution than an entry-level coder. Not only that, but mainframe provides a well-defined (and lucrative) career path, another important value that Millennials look for when evaluating opportunities.

If you are in need of mainframe talent or IT talent with high potential for mainframe work, it’s time to reach out to the award-winning recruiters at Talon. Contact us today to learn the ways in which we can help you achieve your tech recruiting and retention goals, no matter your current challenges.

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