Thoughts on this entire thread:
I'd be interested to know how many IT managers are actually aware of sites such as Perlmonks:
Grandfather's comment that "it's generally the problem solving ability that you need to target rather than detail knowledge of a particular subject" is dead on. Someone who understands basic programming ideas and can show you how they've solved coding problems could be productive in Perl quickly.
I disagree with DrHyde's assertion that Perl is "not a good teaching language." I am relatively new to Perl and have been studying the "Camel" book. I find it to be superior to many textbooks both in terms of its writing style and its discussion of language design issues. I don't necessarily agree with all of Wall's design choices but he does a fine job of explaining his choices.
Finally, a suggestion for identifying good problem solvers who have demonstrated ability in the language one is seeking would be to troll sites such as Perlmonks and look at the trail that regular posters have left there.