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    IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    Blame CIOs for the IT Skills Shortage
    Blame CIOs for the IT Skills Shortage
    By Allan Alter
    2008-03-05


    The real problem behind the skills shortage is that many companies don’t keep IT professionals for the long stretch.
    CIOs keep complaining that they can’t find workers with the skills they need. In fact, two recent surveys on top issues among IT executives—one from the Society for Information Management and another by Robert Half Associates—rank finding skilled IT professionals as the No. 1 issue.
    Many IT executives gripe that universities are not producing a stream of IT graduates who are prepared to function in the business world. Some worry about the unflattering image of technical professionals as socially awkward. But no one is more to blame for the skills shortage than CIOs, especially those at large companies. The reality is that IT executives are creating the skills shortage they grumble about.
    If companies were serious about ending the skills shortage, they would make more investments in IT training. A new CompTIA survey of technology managers on skills gaps in the IT workforce found that sending employees for external professional training is the most frequently cited way to enhance IT employees’ skills.
    However, spending on external training is merely inching up at most large companies. While our February 2008 IT Spending Survey found that companies with revenues below $500 million increased spending on tech training services by 7.2 percent, larger companies increased it by only 2.8 percent.
    Why are large companies loath to make the needed investments? For one thing, there’s the risk that employees could accept training and then take jobs at other companies. But that’s a controllable risk: If a company is a well-managed, interesting place to work, most technical workers will be content to stay. The real issue is that many companies aren’t interested in keeping IT professionals for a long stretch of time.
    Information systems professors Thomas Ferratt of the University of Dayton and Ritu Agarwal of the University of Maryland have found that companies follow different IT HR strategies. One approach is to develop IT staff members for the long term, emphasizing career development and commitment to employees. Companies that follow this approach are more likely to have adequate IT staffing levels and lower turnover rates.
    But the larger the company is, the less likely it is to follow this approach: The June 2007 CIO Insight survey on recruitment and retention discovered that only around one-quarter of companies with revenue topping $1 billion take this approach, compared with more than half of firms between $5 million and $99 million.
    Instead, many large companies regard IT workers as disposable: They’re willing to pay top dollar for talent, but then drop these workers when they’re no longer needed. Many billion-dollar corporations pay little attention to career issues: Just 42 percent of these large organizations do a good job of creating specific career paths for members of their IT organizations, our research reveals. At smaller firms, the number is around 60 percent.
    There’s a three-part solution to the skill shortage: One, no matter how the economy affects your firm, increase training for employees. Two, when recruiting from outside your company, be willing to interview capable IT professionals, even if their skills aren’t a perfect match for the job. Three, be willing to provide new hires with technical training.
    So stop griping about the skill shortage, broaden your searches and start creating the skilled workforce your company needs.


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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    There is a huge lack of talent in IT right now. We have a really hard time finding the skills we need, and my company pays really really well. One of the big problems is people are just not going into IT anymore. I got a letter from ISU and it had the number of graduates in Computer Science on there, it was like 70% less than when I graduated from ISU in 1997.


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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    Its funny how in any office i have been in you never really see the IT people. Where do they hide all the time?



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    Cool Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    our IT people are hidden away in the "dungeon" as we call it around here.......they are too weird and goofy looking and most have the personality of door knob so we don't want them to be seen in public and scare away our clients....ha


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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    IT has the same issue that nursing has: Neither field is doing what it takes, pay or leadership-wise, to attract good help. But they DO spend a lot of time griping about not being able to find good help.

    Our IT people are grossly underpaid. Because they are undervalued by the company. They are also treated like crap, because idiots are running things.

    And they wonder why it's so hard to get good IT help....



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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    IMO, it's not blame CIO's. It's blame CFOs and CEOs.

    For the better part of the last decade, IT has been considered little more than an expense line item. Unless your business is technology centric (like Brianhos'), the technology department is pure overhead and rarely a profit center. Because of that, it's routinely the first place that cuts are made.

    Pay has been lacking, companies are all too willing to outsource, there are fewer and fewer hires, and necessary infrastructure and training are often cut.



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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesfnb View Post
    our IT people are hidden away in the "dungeon" as we call it around here.......they are too weird and goofy looking and most have the personality of door knob so we don't want them to be seen in public and scare away our clients....ha
    heh, our IT people are right inside the front door of our company, but we are an IT company.


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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    IT has the same issue that nursing has: Neither field is doing what it takes, pay or leadership-wise, to attract good help. But they DO spend a lot of time griping about not being able to find good help.

    Our IT people are grossly underpaid. Because they are undervalued by the company. They are also treated like crap, because idiots are running things.

    And they wonder why it's so hard to get good IT help....
    But nursing is an ODD profession, the reason there are no nurses is two things. The job sucks, and the pay is even worse! There is no market forces in nursing, the hospitals complain and complain about the lack of nurses, but the pay rates do not follow. I would tell anyone that is thinking about going into nursing to find another profession because it is just not worth the money.


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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    In the places I have been IT is looked at as a bottom feeder position. We are below everyone else. The pay sucks, the respect sucks, etc. The CFO who usually is the head of the department doesnt know technology so doesnt make it important. Where I am now, everyone loves IT and are thankful to have us. Its a nice change.



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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    What is this it? I hear about this it, is it like the it in the ebay commercials? I didn't know what that it was either...




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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    IT has the same issue that nursing has: Neither field is doing what it takes, pay or leadership-wise, to attract good help. But they DO spend a lot of time griping about not being able to find good help.

    Our IT people are grossly underpaid. Because they are undervalued by the company. They are also treated like crap, because idiots are running things.

    And they wonder why it's so hard to get good IT help....
    I think the problem is that people don't know what the going rate is for positions. There are some salary guides out there but that only gets you so far:
    The main IT Jobs that I am familiar with and what I think would be a decent average wage for them in a medium company
    Helpdesk - 30K
    PC Techs - 40K
    Systems Engineer 55-60K
    Network Engineer 65-70K



    With smaller companies a System Engineer might deal with Routers, VPNs, Email, DB's, Printers, faxes, APs, Phone systems, pcs, tablets, cable runs for 1000 employees etc....

    That same person could go to a large corp and be in charge of just the switches for Des Moines for his company and get 10 grand more.

    Its so hard to compare salaries of IT people.



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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    Quote Originally Posted by bostinelosd View Post
    In the places I have been IT is looked at as a bottom feeder position. We are below everyone else. The pay sucks, the respect sucks, etc. The CFO who usually is the head of the department doesnt know technology so doesnt make it important. Where I am now, everyone loves IT and are thankful to have us. Its a nice change.
    Quote Originally Posted by DaddyMac View Post
    IMO, it's not blame CIO's. It's blame CFOs and CEOs.

    For the better part of the last decade, IT has been considered little more than an expense line item. Unless your business is technology centric (like Brianhos'), the technology department is pure overhead and rarely a profit center. Because of that, it's routinely the first place that cuts are made.

    Pay has been lacking, companies are all too willing to outsource, there are fewer and fewer hires, and necessary infrastructure and training are often cut.
    Both of these posts are spot on.



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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    Some of the problems are that the positions are very specialized so it's not something you learn in the classroom. In my case, it's supporting telephony products. It's not a real exciting field but the need is there.



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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    I really don't understand why more kids are not getting into the field. We hire people straight out of college and they probably make $40K in their first year. I don't think that is bad money for your first year out of college with very little experience.



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    Re: IT Skill Shortage - Blame the CIOs

    Yeah, I pretty much have never used a thing I learned in college in the real world. I guess all those years of college just taught me problem solving skills and showed that I can start a project and stick through it till the bitter end.


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