Learning From the IT Recession

Our IT departments have struggled over the last few years.  Many of our Network Administrators and System Administrators that helped build our companies from the ground up are now retiring.  Unfortunately companies are finding it very difficult to find replacements for these staff members.  Entry level technicians simply can’t take on the same tasks that these staff were doing.  This is leading to impossible entry level requirements, and low job satisfaction for IT members.  In fact, IT is lowest in job satisfaction in some of the main categories.

According to a survey done by E-Republic, only 40% of Technology staff felt that their workloads were properly distributed.  This is 13% below the average across all departments.  62% of Technology departments feel they can bring new ways of doing things in the workplace, 12% below the average.  With these significantly lower percentages, it is no wonder that IT is struggling to retain qualified employees.

Many of the retirees from IT have decades of experience under their belts, which is why they are so hard to replace.  The problem is that too many companies expect entry level techs to take over the same responsibilities straight out of school.  Training may be necessary, and putting them in decision making or at least opinion giving roles will help.  Employees who feel engaged at work are twice as likely to stay at their job.  Right now, IT staff are the least likely to be offered training in the workplace.  Only 73% say they have had opportunities to learn and grow at work in the past 12 months.  This is lower than support staff or HR professionals.

Some solutions have been created  to fix these issues.  These included:

  • Encourage Retirees to contract on a part time basis as trainers for your new staff.
  • Go over your hiring process and simplify it if possible
  • Work with colleges to setup recruiting at job fairs, career days, and other events
  • Work with colleges to setup training sessions for your staff members
  • Reduce the requirements of your entry level positions and lower pay, but invest money into training the staff and building them up
  • Hold Hackathons, Programming Competitions, and other events for recruiting
  • Develop an internship program

We can learn from this experience that our IT departments are struggling with.  It isn’t the first time that large turnover has caused issues in an organization, and it certainly won’t be the last.  If we really want to be smarter workers, we will learn from our mistakes that led to this event, and prevent it from happening in the future.



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