EA Recruiting on the Rise

Over the last several months we have seen a measurable increase in companies recruiting Enterprise Architects and Chief Enterprise Architects.  While we are not in the recruiting business, nor do we track hiring the way an HR research company would, with EA as our specialty we do tend to get information first-hand.  Our clients regularly tap into our expertise to help them justify the need for these positions, to define roles and responsibilities, to craft and review job postings for their HR organizations, and to provide general input to the hiring manager.  We’ve even had occasion to speak directly to HR departments to help them better appreciate the EA role and help them be more effective in the recruiting process.  Professional recruiters also tend to send requisitions our way as well, hoping we might know of potential candidates.  Collectively, these discussions give us insight not only into currently available positions, but also those that will soon open.  Furthermore, we have a unique perspective on the rationales behind the recruiting.

The increase we see is good news on several fronts.  First, any hiring activity is positive.  Our narrow, unscientific and anecdotal data hardly qualifies us as economic commentators, but we can say that it at least suggests that some degree of confidence is returning to the private sector.  Second, the new positions we are seeing are for legitimate “enterprise” architect roles, specifically created to lead and coordinate a forward-looking, enterprise-wide, holistic pespective and to ensure that it is actionable and applied to today’s projects.  This is distinctly different from the many specialty infrastructure, data, solutions, etc. “architect” roles which tend to be more subject-matter and delivery-specific.  And the third piece of good news; it indicates that senior leadership understands and appreciates the distinction between enterprise architects and other architects, that they want what EA does, and that they can justify and attach expected value to having individuals in the EA role.

With every good piece of news, there is inevitably some bad.  Yes, many so-called “EA” postings don’t read anything like what an enterprise architect role should be.  Unfortunately, many companies recruit for enterprise architects to be chief technicians, and others believe that an enterprise architect is nothing more than an architect that works on “really big projects”.  So, read between the lines if you are looking for an EA position.  Also, while many companies will accept internal applicants for these roles, most are external postings.  That reflects a general belief that the right skills and vision needed for EA are not available internally.  The message for those interested in EA positions at your own company and currently in another role: even if there is not an internal “EA” position currently available, be sure to exhibit the skills necessary for that role.  Now is the time to distinguish yourself, not after the job is posted.

We are interested in your thoughts and observations on EA hiring activity.  What are you seeing out there?