IT staffing is main headache

IT staffing is more of a headache than the Year 2000, according to a survey of 40 IT departments and consultancies by Hay Management Consultants.

Some 70 per cent of organisations are having difficulty recruiting IT staff, and turnover rates have risen to over 10 per cent compared to around 3 per cent last year.

In the survey, Hay attributes the high staff turnover rates to dissatisfaction among employees over pay and career issues. Increasingly, those leaving the industry are moving into contract work or joining the supplier community.

Year 2000 was cited by 62 per cent of respondents as the second most important factor putting pressure on staffing, whereas 68 per cent said new projects were the number one drain on resources. Only 11 per cent cited EMU as a resource issue.

The Hay report also suggests that predictions of Year 2000 staffing were too high: 300,000 was a typical prediction of the number of staff needed to deal with the problem, but Hay’s figures suggest only 17,000 to 28,000 people will be employed on Year 2000 work by mid-1998, when resource levels are predicted to peak. About one-third of respondents are tackling Year 2000 by using external software companies.

The report notes the chronic lack of training in the industry and suggests companies set up graduate training schemes.

“It is obvious that the industry lacks skilled IT staff,” commented Iain Smith, managing consultant at Hay, “yet organisations do not recognise the need to invest their time and energy in developing a pool of qualified people.”

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