The Myth of the Shortage of UX People

There’s this pernicious idea out there that there’s a glut of UX job openings and a shortage of UX people to fill those roles. To pick just one article on the subject, let’s take a look at UXmatters’ “Why Is It So Hard to Find Good UX People“. It has such gems as:

“It is so hard to find good UX people because they’re scarce!” exclaims Tobias. “There just aren’t a lot of people out there who are actually UX people. There are not that many people coming out of the right college programs—for example, CMU, Bentley, or Clemson—and those few get hired right away.”

Or about about this:

“The first problem that I’ve observed is with the supply to demand ratio: there is so much UX work out there that those with UX experience get snapped up very quickly,” replies Cory. “Because of the supply and demand issue, I’ve seen employers who end up lowering their required number of years of experience. It’s simply too hard to find UX professionals who are super experienced. However, employers do not always recalibrate their expectations to match a UX person’s years of experience.”

I fully agree that there is frequently a mismatch between what employers are looking for (or think they want) and what they can realistically get, but that’s not exactly a UX-specific problem. What gets me is this idea of a “supply and demand issue.” I’d love to see some numbers on this, because from where I’m sitting, there isn’t any such thing.

Instead, I see an environment where UX people looking for full time work have to scour the landscape, looking for those openings. I see recruiters and hiring managers so swamped with applicants that they don’t even have time to reject the ones that they interview. And if you’re going to treat people in the community with such disrespect, it’s clear that you’re not really concerned about your ability to find more UX people. I see that searching for job openings in a single area produces just a couple of jobs at any given time, and the chances of one of those jobs being full time is slim.

Maybe this is a Michigan thing, and in other places there really is a shortage of UX people. I guess if that’s the case, I would encourage some of these companies that are hurting for UX people to come check out Michigan.