IT industry association CompTIA today released a report that holds both promise and caution for channel partners struggling to maintain or grow their staff. “Evaluating IT Workforce Needs” shows that while overall job satisfaction for IT professionals is increasing, some of the areas where they’re dissatisfied are ones in which the channel has historically struggled.
First, the good news: four out of five IT pros are satisfied with their jobs, up from nearly two out of three in 2015. Most respondents feel that their job provides them with a sense of purpose and makes good use of their talents. This is a critical element of attracting and retaining millennial talent, and partners that can capitalize on that sentiment will have an advantage when recruiting.
“IT pros are also interested in having access to more tools and engaging with more technologies and applications, and would welcome the opportunity to work on new technology initiatives,” Nancy Hammervik, executive vice president of industry relations at CompTIA, told The VAR Guy. “That bodes well for the channel partner looking to add new product lines and service options. Their staffs are ready and willing to make that expansion happen.”
There’s also opportunity in some of the negative feedback from the 820 IT pros who took part in the survey. If you’re searching for an as-yet-untapped talent pool, for instance, reach out to women.
It’s no secret that tech as an industry isn’t exactly a welcoming place for women in general, but where there is chaos, there’s also opportunity. Thirty-four percent of female IT pros said they ended up in an IT role after working non-IT jobs. In an age when every company is a tech company and every line of business requires some tech expertise, you shouldn’t have to stick to computer science majors when looking for new blood.
“In the United States alone, we expect 1.8 million tech workers to join the labor force through 2024,” Hammervik said. “We need to attract and recruit a diverse workforce of individuals, with and without college degrees, and support them in their career growth.”
CompTIA’s Advancing Women in Tech (AWIT) and its nascent Association of IT Professionals (AITP) aim to address the contributing factors to this gap, giving widespread access to job searches, online training, and local networking and mentoring chapters for women and IT newbies looking to cash in on the immense opportunity presented by the future of the IT profession.
Now for the cautionary statistics.
More than half of those surveyed said they wanted more resources for training and professional development, and nearly ¼ are worried that their current skillsets are becoming obsolete. In a sector like the channel where the words “training and certification” cause a nearly gut-instinct reaction of rolling eyes and furrowed brows, that number raises some concern.
“The training challenge is one that channel partners have wrestled with for many years,” said Hammervik. “After all, time set aside for staff training is time taken away from billable hours. There’s also the age old question, ‘What if I train and certify someone and they leave?’ But the question they should be asking is, ‘What if I don’t train someone and they stay?’”
Many partners just don’t want to jump through the complicated hoops of vendor certification programs, and in candid conversations, a lot of them tell The VAR Guy that they willingly give up MDF and other incentives in order to not deal with all the hassle. Hammervik says the AITP program can be a valuable compromise that offers flexibility, variety, and value for cost-conscious partners. AITP offers more than 1,200 courses on a wide range of business topics and gives discounts for skills certification exams and continuing education courseware that can be consumed online.
“The bottom line for the channel community is that tech professionals like what they are doing, want to do more and are eager to learn new skills and work with new technologies. Any investment in programs that would provide them with knowledge, industry insight and skills development, would pay off nicely for the employer.”
Click here to read the full report from CompTIA.