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Two Studies Describe the RFID Workforce

A pair of reports released last week provides insights into the industry's emerging workforce. One says RFID vendors and integrators face a shortage of RFID professionals, while another indicates end users prefer workers with industry-specific hands-on experience.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Key findings from the RFID Tribe study, according to Mark Johnson, the association's president, included a markedly high turnover rate among RFID professionals and the emergence of Asia as the region holding the most promise of growth for RFID career seekers.

Johnson found that RFID end users are putting more stock into a firm's past experiences installing and maintaining RFID systems than in the number of its employees able to brandish RFID training certificates from CompTIA and other organizations. He notes that while RFID training and certification plays an important role in growing and maturing the RFID industry, end users would rather hire people with hands-on experience.

"Professional skills certifications do not equate to effectiveness in RFID implementations," Johnson says. "Passing a certification test does not insure that an individual has relevant RFID project experience, or that an individual has the commercial sense to make RFID technology work effectively in a given situation. Certifications based on passing written tests are valuable—but skills certifications are not a panacea for an organization's RFID woes, nor do they guarantee a successful RFID implementation."

The RFID Tribe's workforce study also found that industry domain expertise—in such vertical areas as health care, logistics or payments—can make vendors especially attractive to potential RFID end users interested in deploying or testing the technology in a vertical application. "A professional who has experience in a hospital facility, as well as RFID project experience," Johnson adds, "is more valued by a health-care end-user than a professional who has RFID experience but lacks experience with health-care facilities."

RFID Tribe used an online survey tool to collect data for its report, then conducted follow-up interviews with some of the 100 respondents to clarify answers provided and collect qualitative information. Additionally, the association utilized data from the RFID Talent and Career Center, an RFID technology job board hosted by RFID Tribe. The full report is available for download from the RFID Tribe Web site at a cost of $99 for a single copy. A license for five downloads costs $299.

CompTIA collected 64 responses for its survey, which was also Web-based. CompTIA members can download the full report free by logging into the organization's members-only page, while non-members may purchase the report. Interested parties should send an e-mail to research@comptia.org.

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