What the IT Staffing Shortage Means for MSPs

Companies continue to struggle to hire people skilled in cloud computing--and not because potential hires are holding out for jumbo sized paychecks. Simply put, there just aren’t enough qualified candidates.

June 23, 2016

3 Min Read
What the IT Staffing Shortage Means for MSPs

By Charles Cooper 1

Companies continue to struggle to hire people skilled in cloud computing–and not because potential hires are holding out for jumbo sized paychecks. Simply put, there just aren’t enough qualified candidates.

The competition for talent has never been more fierce, with businesses snapping up cloud professionals as soon as they can find them. Indeed, roughly 75% of organizations already use public cloud services, and the numbers will likely continue to increase in the future. Meanwhile, the corresponding growth in the number of hybrid cloud installations also continues to accelerate.

Universities just aren’t cranking out graduates fast enough. The U.S. creates 120,000 new jobs that require computer science degrees each year. But the educational system produces only 49,000 related degrees. That leaves an annual deficit of 71,000 degrees and a growing number of unfilled IT jobs.

At the same time, the number of skilled foreigners allowed into the country each year under special visa rules isn’t big enough to make more than a dent. All this puts added pressure on IT to find the right people to help migrate their data and monitor their cloud infrastructure after it’s up and running. However, if the number of experienced cloud professionals continues to outstrip the supply, that’s bad news in bells for companies seeking to make the move.

So, what’s the plan?

Impatient boards don’t want to hear excuses, especially when rival businesses are adopting the cloud. So if the IT department can’t hire enough cybersecurity professionals with the required cloud computing expertise, what’s the plan? This is too big of a challenge for CIOs to solve by themselves, and here’s where MSPs with cloud specialization can step in fill the gap.

MSPs with experience in areas related to cloud–such as behavioral analytics, big data trends, network traffic analysis and security–can turn the skills shortage to their advantage by positioning themselves as a source with the necessary skilled manpower that companies can tap to navigate any transition to the cloud. Given the ongoing IT talent shortage, MSPs  possess both the needed skills and human capital to take on a project at a moment’s notice, and takes the pressure off of overworked IT staffers.

It’s an easy-to-understand sales pitch.

Signing up with an MSP allows a company to redirect its own internal staff on higher-value strategic work, where they can leverage their familiarity with the company’s systems as well as with the company’s larger business objectives.

The selection of an MSP similarly provides companies with a cost-efficient way to mobilize more experienced cloud practitioners for specific jobs. IT won’t need to juggle scarce resources from other long-term projects or hire new bodies. Instead, a managed services provider can staff the project with a diverse skill set and move clients to a private, public or hybrid cloud.

The partnership relationship further offers a client better economies of scale. The MSP is responsible for managing the technology transition, and the customer gets a complete, efficient workforce solution with a single point of contact responsible for the project.

It’s unclear how much longer the IT skills shortage will last. But the talent imbalance also presents–at least for the interim–an opportunity for MSPs to turn lemons into lemonade.

This content is underwritten by VMware — and is editorially independent. It is produced in accordance with conventional standards of business journalism.

Charles Cooper is an award-winning freelance author who writes about business and technology. During his 30-plus year career, he has worked as an executive editor at several leading tech publications including CNET, ZDNet, PC Week and Computer Shopper.

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