Recruiting Business Architects is a Serious Challenge
by Jeff Scott, on Aug 31, 2015 3:17:34 PM
I am often requested to help identify qualified business architecture candidates. Recently three companies – healthcare, financial services, and consulting - have asked for my help. There are plenty of entry level candidates out there from enterprise architecture, business analysis, strategy, and other groups. Just go to a business architecture event and check out how many of the attendees are looking for a full time business architecture position. There is also a growing number of experienced business architects, but few of them are interested in moving.
Here is what I think is going on:
Profession diversity makes skill matching difficult. Business architecture has yet to coalesce as a profession. Each practice takes a different approach with teams focusing on business-IT alignment, operational efficiency, process improvement, strategy alignment, or some combination of these. They often use, or put emphasis on, different tools and techniques. This makes it very difficult for hiring managers to find the specific skills they want.
Relationships are the business architects’ most valuable asset. Successful business architects recognize that their relationships, which have often taken years to nurture, are the cornerstone of their success. Going to a new company means starting over building credibility and influence. Hiring managers must have a compelling opportunity to overcome this hurdle.
Business architecture leaders don’t want to move. Most business architecture practices are still working toward success. Their leaders see the job as far from finished with many challenges yet to overcome. They want to stay where they are until they have clearly proven their ability to create a successful function.
In addition, there are very few appealing opportunities for this group in the marketplace. Most of the open architecture positions I see are for senior business architects – not practice leaders. Few business architecture managers have clearly identified their next step on the career ladder but it most likely won’t be to lead another business architecture team.
Senior business architects want something better. The most sought after candidates are senior business architects with three or more years of full time experience. Skill diversity, compensation levels, and non-compelling opportunities converge to create a significant challenge for hiring this level of experience. This group is looking for a move up in challenge and/or compensation. Few business architecture teams are far enough along their journey to attract senior level talent. Also, given their scope of responsibility, business architects are generally well paid which is a challenge for hiring companies that are reticent to hire into the top of their salary ranges.
For entry level positions, internal is better. Most entry level business architects are hired from within. Their business relationships and past success in their company’s environment are seen as more important than technical business architecture skills. Most of the hiring managers I speak with clearly understand that fit is much more important than technical skill.
The bottom line:_________________________________________________________________________________