Your best IT person just left for another job.
How long do you think it will take to replace him (or her)?
A few weeks to a month? If you're lucky. You'll likely be able to find a short-term “IT guy” to fill in almost immediately.
But to replace that person with another full-time staffer? Manpower Group's 2016-2017 Talent Shortage Survey reveals that 37% of IT managers spend 3 to 6 months to fill IT staff openings. For 15% of IT managers, it took longer than six months to find the right talent match for open positions.
Despite the time it takes to find and hire IT talent, information technology professionals don't even make the top 10 of most difficult to fill positions in the United States (number one is skill trades – electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, etc.)
Though globally, IT staff takes the second spot in hardest jobs to fill after skill trades.
I wrote about the lack of qualified cyber-security experts in the US previously (read Are You Having a Hard Time Finding Network Security Experts? Join the Club). The difficulty in hiring IT staff is deeper than “only” security experts.
IT staff are the employee group with the hardest skills to find – developers and programmers, database administrators, IT leaders and managers, etc.
Why Is Talent So Hard to Find?
My immediate thought was salary is probably the biggest issue when it comes to staffing. I was surprised to discover that other reasons were just as likely:
- Lack of available applicants/no applicants – 23%
- Lack of experience – 18%
- Lack of hard skills (technical competencies) – 16%
- Looking for more pay than is offered – 16%
- Lack of soft skills (workplace competencies) – 12%
IT Staffing and the SMB
These numbers have a few implications for SMBs.
- Companies are increasingly relying on training to get new employees' hard skills up to snuff. When employees are undergoing training, that's time spent away from day-to-day tasks. In a small business, the need for IT to stay on top of changing technology can often conflict with the needs of the business. It's not impossible, but it takes effective planning to ensure your business is covered AND IT staff have the chance to update their skills.
- Training costs money. IT certifications and training can be pricey. Can you afford to keep staff trained?
- Talent gravitates to larger companies and higher paying jobs. Can you compete with a compensation package and opportunity for career growth with a larger organization. As a result, less experienced candidates are often the ones available for your business. Of course, experience and ability aren't the same thing (I'm sure there are plenty of “experienced” employees who don't have much ability). Still, rookie mistakes can be painful.
- I'm just going to refrain from making a joke about the lack of social skills by many IT staff. It's a cliché partly because it's often true.
As every business continues to become more reliant on IT, this difficulty in staffing is going to pinch. Supplementing your in house IT staff with IT services such as cloud backup and recovery, managed networks, and proactive network monitoring is a sure way to ensure you've got IT covered for your business.
For more information on everything to do with Managed IT Services, check out our resource page, here.