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Finding and hiring the best ERP talent can be a difficult task.  Their rare skills can be difficult to find and expensive to hire. But before taking on this challenge, it is important to understand the ERP job market.

The fact that job requirements in ERP are so specific is the start of the problem. They are so specific that can be impossible to find a candidate that perfectly fits the need.  For instance, an employer could be seeking an SAP ERP Financials application specialist with experience implementing the software in the auto manufacturing industry, as well as migrating from the SAP Business One product—oh, and this person needs to be on site in Houston for the next 6 months.

The shortage of application-specific ERP talent is not surprising. Specific product familiarity and industry experience are so important, and experience of this nature is not acquired overnight. Some of the best ERP consultants begin their careers as in-house employees assigned to work along with contractors on a new ERP implementation.  After obtaining product knowledge and experience, they branch off into new careers in the world of consultancy. Clearly, the career path for an ERP professional is oftentimes a long road before he or she can truly be labeled an “expert,” and one can see how this impacts the depth of the talent pool.

Finding ERP talent
Finding and hiring ERP talent can be a daunting task.

Of course, vendors are always working to expand knowledge of their products and nearly always offer training and certification programs. In some cases, even third-party training options are available.  JDE101.org, for instance, is an intro-level training program targeting college students to help push more JD Edwards EnterpriseOne talent into the “pipeline.”

It is also interesting to explore how the advance of Software as a Service (SaaS) is impacting this talent pool.  Many experts say that ERP SaaS is on the rise. With this highly-publicized trend of companies switching from On Premise ERP to SaaS ERP solutions, one might assume that ERP experts are suddenly finding themselves in a crowded job market.  Indeed, as companies push this advanced technology out into the cloud, SaaS customers have a reduced need for in-house application experts and developers.  However, there continues to be high unemployment rate among these IT professionals. Why?

SaaS customers may not need ERP expertise in-house, but now their vendors require more of this talent than ever before.  Back in 2008, C.G. Lynch of CIO.com referenced this projected trend. It is also important to note that despite the reported trends, there remains a large portion of companies still unwilling to part with their existing control over their own data. As a result, there remains a high demand for ERP experts to maintain in-house ERP systems, particularly among manufacturers.

So then, how are employers finding this niche talent in such a competitive space?

Most job boards are not exactly hotbeds for ERP talent because that talent is already employed. As a response, companies turn to professional recruiters who use their vast networks to approach passive job seekers.  Employers can also find talent directly for themselves by searching sites that cater to passive job seekers. ITJobMatch.com, for example, has a wealth of ERP profiles that are easily searchable.

High demand and low supply of expertise in ERP can make the talent sourcing process tricky. But history shows that all markets fluctuate. As IT offshoring continues to expand, for instance, the global IT job market will become more competitive.  This includes enterprise software expertise. Additionally, vendor training will likely continue to expand with online courses, making product exposure more readily available.  And, if nothing else, high salaries, as noted by CNN Money, will likely drive more job seekers into the industry.