The channel ecosystem has the technology and expertise to support businesses through skills shortages and scheduling turbulence.

January 12, 2023

5 Min Read

By Sander Groot


Sander Groot

It’s difficult to read more than a couple of news articles without seeing some reference to The Great Resignation. Employees across industries have been changing jobs at a pace the world hasn’t seen before, and now we’re seeing some of those same employees come full circle, returning to the workplaces or roles they left in the first place. Media outlets have coined this return The Great Regret.

A key driving force behind the shift in the workforce is the need for flexibility. In-office and remote working both need to be on offer for today’s recruits. According to the CIPD’s Resourcing and Talent Planning Report 2022, 68% of organisations that offer hybrid/remote working reported that it has allowed them to attract and retain more talent. Although this “jobseekers’ market” seems to give a positive outlook for those looking for a new career opportunity, a big question remains for the channel: how are these workforce moves impacting business?

As we enter a new year, the excitement surrounding The Great Resignation seems to be settling. The reality for some of the workers who decided to move companies or change roles isn’t living up to expectations. The Great Regret appears to be the next behavioural “phase” in the current workforce and channel organisations need to be aware of how this could impact their own business, as well as the potential opportunities that arise from this shift.

Are Channel Professionals Regretting Their Move?

It seems a lot of recent recruits are unsure of their move to a new role. A recent study by Muse found that out of 2,500 people surveyed, 72% experienced “surprise or regret” after starting their new role, suggesting their expectations of the role weren’t met. If this is also a true reflection specifically of the channel, resellers may see an increase in returning workers as well as new recruits who are looking for a company which does deliver on role expectations.

There’s no doubt that these drastic changes to the workforce — leaving and (in some cases) returning — are creating some turbulence in channel partner operations. On top of this, the added pressure of the skills shortages within the IT industry exacerbates these challenges.

The skill shortages in the industry do, however, offer another opportunity for boomerang employees and will possibly mean that skilled professionals may begin to return to former roles and areas of expertise. This could be a win-win situation for channel employees and employers.

A New Opportunity to Help Customers

This new workforce shift, The Great Regret, is causing employees in the wider tech and IT industry to make further moves or return to old roles. This poses a new opportunity for managed service providers (MSPs) and the wider channel ecosystem as businesses try to grapple with the issues that come as a result of The Great Regret: potential skills shortages as skilled professionals return to old roles, filling vacancies, and making the necessary changes to infrastructure to be able to offer the flexibility that potential candidates desire nowadays.

MSPs and resellers are well-equipped to support customers through these two main issues: Using technology to fill the gap when teams are lacking the skills needed to perform effectively and enabling the business’ infrastructure to open a flexible way of working. Today, resellers and MSPs can, effectively, act as a trusted adviser to businesses to recommend and implement the technology they need to deal with these problems.

For example, an MSP can run the services needed to enable a more flexible working policy and take the stress away from IT teams that may be struggling to fill vacancies and therefore don’t have the necessary skills to run an efficient team. On the other hand, a reseller could assist a business in adopting a new AI-powered technology solution to save time and increase team productivity. The channel has the technology and expertise to support businesses through turbulent times, and this is no exception.

Long-Term Impacts

The channel must keep an ear to the ground to understand how changes in worker sentiment and behaviour can impact the channel and identify where the opportunities lie.

Although the channel is undoubtedly affected by The Great Regret, there can be significant benefits to the channel ecosystem, as a result. This includes an opportunity for MSPs to harness their specialist skill sets, providing support to organisations who need to efficiently update their IT infrastructure and creating exciting new work for boomerang employees. This will be key as the IT industry tries to resolve the challenges of talent acquisition.

If resellers, distributors and MSPs take notice of the workforce’s requirements, albeit with clear boundaries, they can harness the power of a wider talent pool and more flexibility within their businesses. As the Great Regret continues to take hold, the channel will be able to function with a wider pool of talent and sustain growth.

Sander Groot is head of channels for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Central America and Latin America and a long-standing member of the Juniper family. His channel roles include responsibility for the distribution business in the Netherlands, Benelux and Northern Europe; area partner director in Northern Europe; sales director, managing service provider, enterprise and partner sales in Benelux; and lead of the EMEA Partner organization. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @JuniperNetworks on Twitter.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like