Companies Can’t Find Enough SharePoint Talent

The job market can’t keep up with the overwhelming demand for SharePoint. Large and mid-size companies have been flocking to it, and in 2011 Microsoft said that 20,000 workers became new SharePoint users every day during the previous five years. With SharePoint going online as a part of Office365, small businesses are beginning to move in that direction.

HiringThis demand for SharePoint is driven by the clear success many companies have had with it. Add to that the fact that most businesses that use SharePoint are barely leveraging its full potential. A major reason: They simply can’t find the qualified and experienced professionals they need.

“Microsoft SharePoint has taken the market by storm, but the embrace of the technology has run ahead of the business and human factors’ thinking required to make it work,” explains Michael Sampson, a SharePoint strategist from New Zealand.

Complicating matters is the demand for SharePoint superheros who employers imagine can fulfill all of their needs. There is no singular SharePoint skillset. According to my colleague Joseph King, “The roles of a SharePoint resource have been blurred. There are essentially three different roles: administrator, developer and architect. Few resources have expertise in all three.”

If you’re a business analyst or technology worker who’s trying to expand your skillset and desirability, SharePoint is a good area to learn about. You can find some key resources at Microsoft Learning.

As for companies who’ve found their SharePoint expert, be sure to treat them well. Remember the talent shortage. Other companies are prepared to lure them away, and many SharePoint resources are barraged daily with calls and emails from recruiters.

29 Responses to “Companies Can’t Find Enough SharePoint Talent”

  1. All this might be true but Podio may be the real rising star in social workspace collaboration. Citrix recently purchased this company. Both are cloud based applications – but a real difference is that Podio seems to really deliver on one of Microsoft’s key marketing points about turning IT into a strategic business partner vs cost center. SharePoint, as you point out, seems to require multiple roles within an enterprise: administrator, developer, and architect. Podio has seemed to be able to simplify these functions giving even small users the ability to roll out platforms and custom applications with ease, not to mention large enterprise users as well – i.e. I read about an example where a six month $200K SharePoint project was abandonned after a business analyst was able to create on Podio 90% of what they needed, in two weeks, on his own. It would be interesting, as a SharePoint developer to get your perspective on this – is Citrix blowing smoke?

    • Paul Davis

      Piffle. All three sharepoint roles are pretty easy for anyone willing to learn them. You get what you pay for, and too many people are fine with equating that with the idea that they pay this guy so much, he must be good. Far too many people studied brain dumps for a week and took the sharepoint tests. 99% of what you see people pushing some complicated .NET mess for is already IN Sharepoint, they just have no idea that it can be done in a few hours by changing the style sheets and doing a little javascript.

  2. Phoo. The only reason companies can’t find SharePoint talent is that they aren’t looking and don’t want to pay a reasonable, professional wage (not $30/hr for an architect/designer). If you read through any of the posts for “sharepoint” jobs, you will see a plethora of “must haves” that normally have not got squat to do with SharePoint. There is no project that needs each and every person to be a “proficient C# and .Net coder with 12 years experience in SharePoint 2010. Must also have expert SQL skills, the ability to design engaging graphical interfaces, connect legacy systems, interface with business users to develop requirements, and write all the technical documentation.” All these may required for a project, but it’s fantasy to believe that one person is ever going to actually do all of this. If some of the whizzos would look at team mix instead of must have skills and pay a living wage, they would quickly discover they have all sorts of talented people who are ready and willing to work.

    • Actually they like to list all of these crazy requirements so that whenever a candidate comes in for an interview, who has the skills that they really need, they use the other “requirements” to leverage a lower wage. and if the candidate DOES take the position they’ll whore him/her out on every project they’ve got.

      • Samuel Sabel

        Here is how I see this playing out. I see managers who want to fill a position. They fill out a wishlist of skills that they want. OK, fine, this is not a bad thing. Then this wishlist magically becomes requirements when it is handed it over to the recruiters (some recruiters are better about this than others).

        The manager gets excited about the potential new hire having most or all the items on their wishlist. By the time reality hits and they find a qualified (or even over-qualified) candidate, their expectations are being lowered. Lowered to reality, yes, but lowered nonetheless.

        They look at this fully-qualified candidate and they see “he/she doesn’t have this” and “he/she doesn’t have that”. They see the negative. So they do not think the candidate deserves full potential pay, and they bring them on and never give them the full respect the candidate deserves.

        It is an issue.This is why good recruiters and HR need know how to manage the expectations of their clients.

  3. The M$ sales team over promised the benefits of their 80% solution. Yeah, its great because you can hire a tool monkey for 40-50 an hour, Um, no, market rates are where supply meets demand. The sales guys didn’t tell their clients that the cheap tool monkeys that made the product worthwhile aren’t going to be as cheap as promised eventually. You can either drop the dime to train your own who may leave you before they really create value for you or just plain never are any good, offer a rate that makes it worth a true developers time to turn into a tool monkey or admit you made a bad decision.

  4. Ofer Gal

    That’s Just how it looks in the job market because every 100 agencies are recruiting for the same 10 available jobs.

    And another issue is that SharePoint out of the box can do a lot for an organization but they will spend time and money of unnecessary customization.

  5. @Angel I agree with you for the most part. I do think that expectations are often unreasonable. I also believe that businesses and recruiters are often looking for a mythical “SharePoint Super-Hero”, first cousin to the “computer guru”. Coincidentally, I am speaking at a SharePoint conference in Charlotte next week on how to bring together a balanced SharePoint team and I have an upcoming article on this subject as well. There are many different areas of knowledge that go into a good team, some are technical and some not. What is needed is a hybrid or coming together of business and IT.

  6. A balanced SharePoint team for a medium to large installation should have:

    1) one lead architect (not an uber-coder) with the vision and understanding (business and technical) to carry the team and the project from installation through delivery,
    2) server admin(s) to handle the servers, OS, security, and keep everything patched and running
    3) network admin(s) to address all the connectivity issues, including security
    4) one database person to manage the dbs, deal with optimization and db connectivity (BDC and reporting)
    5) one developer person to deal with configuring (not coding) SharePoint OOTB features to meet the needs of the business for functionality
    6) coder(s) to deal with the tweaks and essential code that may need to be written
    7) one design person to handle the CSS and make everything look great
    8) two admins to manage the updates and related jobs,
    9) three business people to confirm that the needs of the business are being met, and
    10) two technical writers / librarians to keep everything clean, create the documentation, and handle some general site administration.


    11) one project management person who actually understands what “team” means

    There is no one person who can do all of this.

    And…. once the delivery is complete, the mix needs to be adjusted. Maintenance and Design are quite different.

    • Samuel Sabel

      I find this listing very interesting and very informative.

      When looking at bringing together the right team I encourage organizations to assess the role of SharePoint in their particular environment.

      Generally there are one or two main uses for SharePoint at a company. Maybe it is used as a portal, maybe as a team collaboration space, maybe as a file-share, or for records management and regulatory compliance, it could be used to surfacing functionality from many systems together, maybe it is primarily being used for business process automation and workflows, and on and on.

      The important thing for an organization is to be mindful of is the principle purposes for their SharePoint when they bring together a team. I see @Angels listing of eleven roles as a deck of cards (and yes there are more cards than even those). Some card hands work better for some SharePoint instances, other hands work well for other SharePoint instances. Some cards are necessary regardless of the scenario.

  7. Not surprised, however, companies still don’t really understand sharepoint. When companies are looking for a SharePoint person, they want someone that can do everything within the product, however, SharePoint has many facets of it, from admin, developer, to architect and some companies think that the architect should do everything within the product when in most case some of the architects can’t develope a web part.

  8. Mike Years,

    Please don’t buy into the whole “Both are cloud based applications” lingo. We’ve been doing “cloud” based stuff since the invention of the Internet, some marketing person simply coined a new term and everyone seemed to wet their pants about it. Please.

    • While I agree that the term cloud is a new marketing label for a method to use computers that has been around for decades, I think that what is happening today is new.

      It is not new because the model of selling remote IT infrastructure services or applications is new.

      It is new because mobility and technology has matured to a point where these type of services take a new and vital relevance. The culture of how we work and communicate is changing. The cloud has been found to be a major tool in delivering on that demand. This is in both the enterprise (where SharePoint resides) and in the broader consumer market.

  9. Mike Smith

    The problem is that these same organizations have been SOLD by Microsoft that this is an inexpensive solution that is so intuitive that it doesn’t require all the training that other SYSTEMS require. The idea that they would pay MS $500K to stand up a SP 2010 farm with licensing, etc, and then invest another $500K to outfit their IT department with people to run that farm never makes sense to them.

    I agree, as a SP Admin / Developer I find it frustrating as well. Everyone wants to ONE guy to do it all, but again, business has been duped into believing SP is a simple OFFICE product and so it shouldn’t be any harder than standing up a web server or rolling out MS OFFICE 2010.

  10. Ricardo

    I have tried many times in the last 5 years to hire perm SharePoint developers. Almost impossible. Several times I have had almost nobody even apply. Even willing to pay ridiculous royalty to external headhunters. I may get one or two here and there that really have good experience but they want $120/year. In most cases I end up with people who have only worked with SharePoint Designer and InfoPath or the H1B types who have no team or customer skills and automatically open Visual Studio and start coding before they know anything about the project. I am getting tired of spending money on Microsoft partners but there’s really no other alternatives. You would think Texas would have many options with big city, but not.

    • How ironic…
      I’m experienced SharePoint developer and I’m good.
      For a while I cannot get decent job offer so I’m dealing with IBM technologies which appeared to be very lousy…
      Besides, the client uses all these not for a purpose.
      What can you say about it?

    • I hear this from quite of few companies. I suggest a strategy that you can build a team within your team. Network guy will take care of servers, AD and network. ASP.NET developer for the custom development. You can hire a remote Sharepoint Architect for the the vision and solve business problem using sharepoint technologies.

  11. Because SharePoint tends to be something that takes special talent to craft the right business solution up front and then configure/customize the product to meet the need, hiring a consulting firm like ours makes sense. We have SharePoint expertize to do the heavy lifting and not force your company to go out and try to hire a multi talented SharePoint expert. As many people have already written, these people are scarce and expensive. The day to day SharePoint needs can then be handled by other IT resources after implementation.

  12. Recruiting firms, job sites, and employers put out stuff like this so the market will get flooded and they can lower salaries. It’s happened over the past decade with nurses, engineers, and other fields. Get a bunch of people who’ve taken a few classes and think they know what they are doing, then jobs can be filled for less. This article should be re-titled Companies Can’t Find Enough SharePoint Talent [Willing to Work for 60K per year].

    • lavachickie

      Oh, of course it can.

      I mean, if you buy $50k of third party add ons, $10k in training for your staff, on and you’ll need to hire additional staff (architect, admin, developer) as well. And you’ll still be unsatisfied, so then you’ll go to a n M$ partner, and pay… some ungodly sum… for some solution which doesn’t quite fit the bill.

      I’m settling into a new job where I’m seeing first hand how hog-tied M$ makes an organization, who is otherwise well funded, well resourced, and had some bright minds in it. This is my reality so I’m trying hard to adjust, but the way Sharepoint was sold, the way your average organization implements it (read: turn it on and then wait to see what people do with it), and the shackles that this then imposes on just about any request in the future… ugh. Maddening.

  13. Arun Kumar

    and still our employers think we do basic stuff lolzz. they don’t know one single clink by an amateur will put their business in dark age. and one great idea implemented with sharepoint can earn them millions . still they r blindfolded.

  14. I agree with Sam on this. I have been doing SharePoint since 2003. I am still amazed how I have to deal with managers who have absolutely no IT understanding whatsoever and yet want to project manage a SharePoint Project. It’s like asking an accountant to project manage building a house. As for going for the SharePoint Contracts, it’s currently a big issue that companies don’t want to pay us our due. Pre 2000 things were relatively a lot better. Now accountants look at IT people as providing least business benefit for the money. They forget, whether they believe it or not, we still hold the reins. Things are going to change. We will get our day again sooner rather than later – so hang in there. DO NOT DROP YOUR RATE.

  15. I left SharePoint because I am a Programmer (architects/engineers/writes code) who was being underpaid on market average by 40% (cost of living area reasons…). On top of that I was constantly being given projects (consulting firm) with 8 hour budgets that were underbid and really needed 16 to 40 hour budgets (or even 500 in one case). Furthermore I was always being told to use Nintex or SharePoint Designer and not to write code.. Where writing code is what I do, it’s why I got into the industry.

    I could come up with a million reasons why (based on my 4-5 years experience developing on the platform), but generally I haven’t met a single Developer that actually likes working with SharePoint.

    So there is this huge problem, where tons of companies want to deploy SharePoint, but none of their developers actually want to work on it. That affects morale greatly and leads to developer burn out. When a developer burns out they consider a career change or a new job and start floating their resume. That cycling process creates huge employee turn over rates comparable to a local McDonalds.

    In my opinion, when choosing a CMS the most important factor is whether developers like working with it or not. If they do, they’ll build you the Taj Mahal with it. If they don’t you’ll get a mud hut.

    I know what some companies think when they read something like that as well, “I pay the salaries, I need what I need, they’ll work on it because I tell them to.. etc”… Sure, eventually.. The thing is there is a HUGGGEE Market out there and developers aren’t forced to choose 1 set piece of that market. SharePoint isn’t the only .Net CMS. There is Umbraco, SiteCore, EpiServer, and DotnetNuke just to name the big 4. Then you have all the other platform cms’s of WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magnolia and on and on and on. If there are a million sharepoint jobs out there, there are 10 million non sharepoint jobs out there. If a company isn’t hiring me because I don’t want to work on sharepoint, that’s fine because theres another company that needs a PostgreSQL/C# MVC Expert that is paying competitively and I’d rather work doing that. Shoot, I’d rather work on Legacy C code than develop websites on SharePoint. To be honest, I’d rather work third shift in shipping at the local factory on 12 hour shifts than develop for SharePoint.

    I’m not saying the platform is a lost cause, just that it’s so hard to find good talent for sharepoint, because good talent doesn’t want to work on sharepoint.