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Lauren Burdick - 1/20/2015
Source: http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=68319, http://www.ibj.com/articles/50735-indy-tech-employers-face-vexing-qu

Recent research by tech advocacy and marketing group TechPoint shows that Indiana is quickly becoming a hub for jobs in the technology field. While these positions exist in large numbers and pay almost double the median salary of other jobs in the Indianapolis area, employers are struggling to attract tech talent. The study combines data from 26 tech product, service and tech-enabled companies.

The solution to this disparity, according to TechPoint CEO Mike Langellier, is to create more technology internships and build stronger partnerships with Indiana colleges and universities to retain talent.

“Purdue University, Indiana University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, the University of Notre Dame and Ball State University train thousands of students every year with computer-related talent,” Langellier says. “Through greater partnerships, collaboration and experimentation through programs like Xtern and Xpat, we have begun to optimize that training and more effectively attract and retain those talented individuals in Indiana companies.”

Employees at Indianapolis-based Rook Security find that working directly with Indiana colleges and universities also helps them recruit the best from the state. Rook hires interns from Indiana schools and sometimes offers the best candidates full-time employment at the end of their internships.

“Working with Indiana schools gives us the ability to build strong relationships with school counselors and local candidates, support keeping students in Indiana and help (address) the ‘brain drain’ issues that Indiana is having in tech,” comments client success manager Keri Christman.

She notes that Rook works hard to make internships valuable for both the organization and interns.

“We often have interns doing the work that our full-time employees also are doing. We feel that letting them do work that pertains to their degree is the most beneficial to them and to us,” she asserts. “We don't feel like making interns make copies or coffee for employees helps anyone at all.” 

Creating more internship opportunities, however, does not solve all of Indiana’s technology industry problems. TechPoint’s research found that 71% of technology interns in Indiana decline full-time employment offers in favor of higher-paying or out-of-state options. Langellier contends that employers need to better communicate the monetary and community benefits of working in Indianapolis and surrounding areas.

“Is there really a compensation disparity or are we not doing a good job of understanding and articulating buying power and cost-of-living differences? Furthermore, are we losing on 'location' in part because we're not doing a good job of promoting opportunities and the virtues of our communities?”

Access more information on TechPoint’s findings.

Sources: Inside INdiana Business and Indianapolis Business Journal