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Technology Skill Shortage Leaves Many I.T. Jobs Vacant In Detroit

Over the last few years, the economic recession has been hard on this country and not many cities have been hit as hard and suffered so dearly as Detroit. But alas, the recession is over (or so many experts have stated). Old jobs are returning to Michigan and the Motor City, and new positions are always in development.

The I.T. industry is one of those rare, progressive fields this day and age that is always seeing new development and new opportunities as a result of the constant advancement of ideas. With a number of new companies in the Metro Detroit area looking for a technologically skilled labor force to fill vacant I.T.-based positions, James Thompson and Amy Blumke of JMJ Phillip, a recruiting company based in Ann Arbor, talk about what types of opportunities are available and just which candidates these companies are looking for to fill their technology-starved gaps.

When it comes to Detroit, how advantageous is our market when considering I.T.-style jobs and current availabilities? 

James Thompson of JMJ Phillip (credit: Michael Ferro)
James Thompson of JMJ Phillip (credit: Michael Ferro)

"The interesting thing about our market is that as automotive-based as Detroit is, we have a strong need for information technology professionals and engineers. We originally started out as IT Recruiters in the '90s because the demand was so strong here in the Detroit area.

"Over the last decade, you have seen many technology-based startups emerge from Detroit. And beyond the startups, from health care I.T. to companies taking their brick-and-mortar operations online, we have a strong demand for really smart technologists. When you look at all the businesses from Port Huron to Detroit, Ann Arbor or Lansing, our Metro area really is amazing. The Detroit Metro area has everything from Google in Ann Arbor to many other technology-based companies all over Oakland County seeking talent."

James Thompson is a top jobs recruiter and vice president of business development at JMJ Phillip in Ann Arbor. 

What are some of the most in-demand career types for those graduating with a degree in information technology?
Amy Blumke of JMJ Phillip (credit: Michael Ferro)
Amy Blumke of JMJ Phillip (credit: Michael Ferro)

"As only one part of technology, the demand for ERP professionals -- Enterprise Resource Planning -- is nothing short of amazing. Companies are always looking for ERP specialists, especially those with SAP and Oracle experience. Oakland County is also the home of Plex Systems, which is a rapidly growing, cloud-delivered ERP provider. It seems every time we hear about something going on in the ERP market, Plex is hiring.

"Companies are also really interested in the 'brainiacs,' the programmers that also have a very deep background in mathematics, as they can be used for a variety of things from emerging technology development to leveraging someone that can program the controls of industrial equipment, or even develop the controls for that matter. While the network support positions seem to have faded off with more and more companies outsourcing or going to the cloud for app delivery, the demand for coders never seems to end.

"Two things are often sought after, but are never focused on in the media. If you have a very creative mind and understand technology, there is likely a job for you out there right now. Likewise, if you are business minded or very entrepreneurial and understand technology, you have a job opportunity as well. It seems companies still want the really smart people, but if they can get that rolled into a complete package, they are going to make the hire."

Amy Blumke is an executive search consultant with JMJ Phillip in Ann Arbor.

Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at

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