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Has the demand for IT solution provider services really picked up? Absolutely, according to Joe Iovinelli, CEO of Chicago-based IT permanent and temporary staff recruiting firm SmartSource, which caters to IT solution providers.

“What we’ve seen the most are companies needing staff augmentation services,” Iovinelli tells Channel Insider. “With unemployment at nearly 10 percent, companies are short-staffed. Companies want IT consultants on a month-to-month basis.”

Other employment trends SmartSource is seeing include an increase in project-based work such as network upgrades.

“End customers have budget now for projects,” he says, “So short-staffed solution providers are now calling us in dire need.”

The move to more of a contingent work force is a trend that’s been happening for the last year, according to Iovinelli. Over the first two weeks in January it’s picked up even more, he says.

“Our business last year was up in the double digits,” he says. “It’s a sign that companies are looking to use more of a variable work force now.”

And that includes SmartSource’s biggest customers, such as CDW.

What Iovinelli hasn’t seen yet is a lot of calls for Windows 7 PC refresh work. Instead, he is seeing a lot of new desktop deployments and POS installations. Some of these are from retail organizations that need equipment moved from one store that has closed to be set up in another location.

He is also seeing VOIP integration jobs spike right now as solution providers get big contracts and are looking for “feet on the street,” for instance, when customers have 72 locations around the country that need installation and integration services.

And, of course, virtualization continues to be hot, he adds.

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