One of the biggest technology challenges facing companies isn’t technological at all – it’s the lack of people with the skills necessary to build and execute a strong technology strategy. According to CIO magazine, US businesses posted 604,000 IT job openings in the third quarter of 2017 alone. This problem isn’t likely to get any better any time soon, either. CompTIA (a technology trade association) estimates 1.8 million new jobs will be created in technology between 2014 and 2024, but only 280,000 computer-science degrees will be awarded by colleges during that same period.
This data is causing plenty of focus on the obvious effects a tech worker shortage will have – challenges in application development firms and cybersecurity deficits at large companies. In reality, the shortages will cascade down the entire business spectrum, including small and mid-size businesses with only a handful of IT employees, or no internal employees at all. If a small company struggles to hire someone who can build and maintain a well-designed network, it’s not going to be a front page story in the New York Times. But it’s still going to impact that company’s bottom line, because their network is going to be getting in the way of productivity, instead of enhancing it.
This worker shortage also provides plenty of opportunities for tech employees to transition to new roles, including some advanced ones that may not have been available to them in years past. This makes it more important than ever to make sure that you have a backup plan if your network is managed by two or fewer employees. If an IT specialist at your company accepts an offer at a different company and is gone in two weeks, will you be able to cope with that loss?
It also means that you should value the stability of your Managed Service Provider’s (MSP’s) workforce. You’ll want to make sure that your MSP is not suffering from high turnover. If your MSP loses engineers as soon as they’re familiar with your network, they’ll never truly be able to help you perform your best, and they’re not going to be prepared to deal with a network emergency when it does happen.
And while technology workers face a more drastic shortage, the fact is that the United States unemployment rate is low across nearly all industries and functions. So, while technology workers might warrant some special attention and planning, it’s important to ensure that all employees feel appreciated, both internally and at the service providers that are most critical to your company’s success. In this environment, hiring and retaining the best employees provides a competitive advantage that can be difficult to match.
To learn how WingSwept can help your company make the best possible use of its technology, call us at 919.779.0954 or email us at Team_WingSwept@WingSwept.com.