At least 250. That’s how many candidates I was competing against. I had applied for a job early in my career, one that really excited me, but knowing I was just a resume in a ream of contenders was a little discouraging to say the least.
IT departments no longer have that problem.
In fact, in this world of rapid technological evolution and exponential doubling, we now have many more IT jobs than skilled professionals to fill them. The IT skills gap and worker shortage are causing major headaches for companies large and small. Consider the following:
- In Q3 2017, U.S. companies had openings for close to 604,000 IT jobs—the top source of new wages in the United States.
- The job growth rates for certain positions, such as application developer and security specialist, have been at 7 percent over the last several years (compared to the national average of 1.9 percent).
- In 2016, only about 65,000 students graduated with degrees in computer and information sciences.
While we’re starting to see the trend shift in the positive direction, with more students entering the field – which will pay off in the future – the situation is and will remain challenging to many firms needing qualified IT professionals today. And many CIOs don’t feel like they have the time and resources for a lot of on-the-job training of green candidates. Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, explains the conundrum to CIO:
“After all, time set aside for staff training is time taken away from billable hours or ‘real work.’ There’s also the age-old question, ‘What if I train and certify someone and they leave?’ But when it comes to technology and the people they’re paying to implement it, the question they should be asking is, ‘What if I don’t train someone and they stay?’”
One viable answer for this new challenge might be an old solution: outsourcing. Efficient CIOs have a solid handle on opportunity costs and have learned the right balance of in-house and outsourcing. As a result, the global IT outsourcing market is growing and came close to hitting $300 billion last year, which is an annual growth rate of 6.3 percent.
Consider some of the more compelling reasons to look for outside help:
- Outsourcing allows you to retain your talented developers by not burying them with maintenance tasks.
- If your business requires 24/7 customer service capabilities, an external provider can be a huge help to a team stretched too thin.
- Outsourcing can provide the breathing room for your in-house team to be more creative and innovative in their quest to improve performance and processes.
And while we wait for the skilled worker pool to catch up with the abundance of open positions, outsourcing can help fill the gap on those specialty skill sets – such as AI and mobile app development – that are often tough to find.
Options in outsourcing
Keep in mind, too, that outsourcing doesn’t have to mean a total relinquishment of control. Many large companies have found innovative ways to incorporate aspects of outsourcing to remain agile in today’s changing tech environment.
The hybrid model often makes the most sense, with a mix of cloud services, on-premises applications and managed IT services to complement in-house teams. This method often frees up internal staff to focus on core business lines.
Some companies are simply outsourcing to the cloud, taking advantage of SaaS and cloud-based platforms. I’ve worked with several companies that have found success implementing services such as an Amazon Web portal or the full suite of Microsoft Office 365 tools to increase productivity and reduce repetitive tasks.
Others are also finding success dividing it up right down the middle: back-office processes handled by an outsourced vendor and customer-facing efforts staying with the in-house teams.
“At the end of the day, there’s no value in us doing the keeping-the-lights-on stuff,” Nathan Lavigne, director of technology and analytics at nonprofit NACE International, told CIO. “You have to understand what your core competencies are and also what helps you build partnerships in the organization with the business.”
As we work with clients around the country, we really appreciate the opportunity to help them figure out the IT strategies and solutions that work best for them. We like to say we don’t sell a service but rather a solution. It’s really just digging a little deeper to see what root issues may be at play and designing an IT roadmap to address not just the symptoms but the overall issues that may be holding them back. Whether it’s replacing outdated legacy systems, tapping into enterprise data analytics, or designing a customer experience strategy, outsourcing can help your business efficiency and performance.
Until you have 250 candidates lining up for your open IT position, you may need a little help in the meantime.
Angela Hurt is founder and CEO of Veracity Consulting, a tech consulting team of problem-solvers and truth-tellers who deliver customized IT solutions for commercial and government clients across the U.S. Learn more at engageveracity.com, and share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter @engageveracity.