A worldwide survey of Cisco partners has found that although recruitment patterns are changing during the recession, resellers are still keen to hire and are more focused than ever on grooming and maintaining the right talent.
Talent development forms one of the 'four pillars' of Cisco's Navigate to Accelerate programme, which was launched with great fanfare at Cisco's Partner Summit in Boston earlier this year.
Cisco claimed that 100% of those questioned - around 900 Cisco dealers responded to the survey, which was sent to 3,000 all told - expected growth during the next calendar year due to the inclusion of advanced comms technologies in their portfolios, and according to Cisco partner talent head Beth Rowland, recruitment strategies would have to evolve to keep pace.
85% of respondents said they were hiring strategically to fill skills gaps as opposed to bulk hiring of graduates, for example, while 78% planned to hire next year.
Touchbase European services leader Brad Hale said he was focusing on targeted recruitment of Cisco engineers who could hit the ground running and generate ROI within a couple of months.
However, he added, "the market is flooded with people and not all of them are good ones; the good engineers are all holding onto their jobs, which perhaps makes it even more difficult".
Mike Mihalop, head of HR for the UK at NSC Global, said the market had been swamped by larger partners such as BT and Affiniti laying off engineers in droves.
Recruitment patterns in the Cisco channel are also changing, with a decline in the use of recruitment agencies - who Rowland said tended to provide the wrong sort of people - and online and print advertising in trade media.
"We are seeing a massive increase in utilisation of Web 2.0 technologies, such as LinkedIn," she added.