Shortage of SAP Skills: The Global and Worldwide Crisis

September 23, 2008

The IT industry is mildly concerned about hurricanes, world hunger and the impending global financial calamity. Indeed, calamities can be opportunities as well as threats to IT. But the the real threat to IT is the global shortage of SAP talent:

How Bad Is The SAP Talent Shortage?

The SAP skills shortage: What it means for you

SAP seeks to overcome skills shortage

Oracle, SAP Skills Shortage Leaves ERP Customers Gasping for SaaS Choices

SAP Skills Shortage Costs SAP’s Customers, Partners 

What’s Hot? SAP Skills And Pay

Analyst: Demand for SAP skills keeps rising

ERP skills shortage pushes customers to SaaS

SAP Talent Scarce, Opportunities Rich

Surviving the SAP Talent Crunch

SAP skills shortage ultimately hurts company.

Is the SAP skills shortage pushing buyers to Oracle, Microsoft?

The gist of the crisis: A deficit of tens of thousands of SAP skilled professionals, and it’s growing worse. 

SAP’s recent suggestion that a global shortage of 30,000 – 50,000 skilled SAP professionals is expected in coming years should come as no surprise. In April of 2007, Leo Apotheker warned of a potential SAP consultant deficit in the neighborhood of 50,000. AMR analyst Bruce Richardson, keeping things real, put the number closer to 70,000.

Keeping it real — the higher the number of expected SAP consultants, the more realistic it is.

SAP’s problem might sound like a problem borne from success: too much demand for its software and not enough talent to implement and service it. But it has become a serious business challenge for SAP. “It does point toward success,” 

SAP is so very successful, it is being challenged if not crushed by its very success!

OK, so here’s the crisis as described by experts, in a nutshell:

  • There’s going to be a shortage of 30 to 70,000 SAP consultants, or more.
  • This is because of geezers retiring from IT, the lack of interest in IT degrees because kids believe falsely that IT jobs are being offshored, and the lack of ‘profile’ of SAP in the enterprise. (Now my opinion is that these reasons are BS, but I’m not an expert)
  • SAP itself is in danger because of the crisis, and is aware of the situation.
  • Businesses stuck with SAP are screwed because they can’t pull off implementations (maybe SAP should have warned customers about the skills shortage, but hey they need to make money right?) They have to horrors, buy Microsoft to get out of the mess.
  • NetWeaver has got to be as hot as a cat on a hot tin roof.
  • Experts are working on the problem.
  • In the meanwhile it’s $$$ and $$$ and (other currencies) for those blessed souls who are working as SAP consultants.
Now there is a contrarian view, that there is no shortage, that there are numbers of SAP professionals out there who can’t get a job.

If you can’t get a job of course it’s your fault. You’re not networked properly on LinkedIn, your skills are missing some buzzword that causing HR departments to pass you by, you aren’t breaking into the technology, and you need to leave your country and go someplace where you don’t know the language. Now, if this shortage is due to networking, then shouldn’t all these multi billion dollar corporations figure out a way from their side to find the talent? The National Basketball Association has talent scouts who find seven foot tall 12 year olds in Albania or Xinjiang.

SAP for its part is rushing out certifications and setting up curriculums in over 1,000 schools worldwide, and is on target for the number of certs it is awarding for 2008. Ok, so work experience isn’t so important to fill the skills gap. So all I would have to do is get the training, maybe get some help from SAP, get a cert, and then start making the moolah. With the publicity about the skills shortage and the money, I suspect that there will be a shortage no more within a year. SAP trying to meet its target for certifications will be easier to meet than say, the US Army’s recruiting goals for this year.

Just don’t get training in the wrong parts of SAP, or you’ll be out of the work like the demented SAP professional souls who are watching the world pass them by. You can always brush up on your mainframe skills.


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