How managed IT services can help fill the tech talent gap

Vaco blog graphic - tech talent shortage and managed IT services (1)

The war for tech talent has placed thousands of companies in a tough spot: the urgency to accelerate their digital capabilities is at a fever pitch, but few have the internal resources to meet those needs. Qualified candidates for skilled tech roles command higher salaries and have more job options than ever before, creating unprecedented competition in the hiring world. And resignations are surging among IT departments as team members experience burnout, increasing workloads, and resource constraints.

In late 2021, Vaco and MorganFranklin Consulting, a Vaco company, conducted a survey of more than 160 business leaders to find out how their organizations are approaching transformation in 2022. 

Their responses to illuminated a few overwhelming themes:

  • 40% of respondents said their top transformation priority is implementing new technology solutions
  • 49% said the talent shortage is their biggest barrier to success
  • 31% said increasing outsourcing or shared services is a key strategy for reducing costs within their organizations this year

What do these three pieces of data tell us? In the simplest terms, they tell us that standing up new tech is important to business leaders, that great talent is hard to find, and that outsourcing is a common strategy for reducing costs. 

When you take a closer look, though, these responses reveal a few interconnecting realities in a world where the business environment is changing and companies need to adapt. 

What happens when technology adoption accelerates rapidly but tech and IT talent is scarce?

Let’s take a deeper dive into the implications of the survey data we mentioned above.

Companies are prioritizing a range of technology and digital initiatives

First, digital capabilities and technology adoption are no longer just an option for competitive businesses; they’re an imperative. Our survey data reveals that many business leaders are keenly aware of this. In addition to the 40% of respondents who said implementing new technology was their top priority for 2022, another 24% cited RPA implementation/process automation, and 20% said improving management of risk, including cyber. Among the business leaders surveyed, transformation priorities seem to overwhelmingly center on improving existing systems or adopting new technology. 

Read more: Cybersecurity: new technology, new risks

There is a widening gap between the demand for tech skills and the supply of qualified candidates

Second, any tech upgrade or implementation requires highly skilled professionals to build, integrate, and maintain it. In the current labor market, these professionals are in extremely high demand, but active candidates are rare; unemployment for tech occupations hovers at around two percent—far below the U.S. national average. 

There’s also a shortage of skilled tech students entering the job market, degree in hand, each year. One example: in the 2018-2019 academic year (the most recent available data set), just under 90,000 CIS (computer and information sciences) degrees were awarded in the United States. Meanwhile, U.S. companies are projected to add nearly 180,000 new tech jobs in 2022 alone. This gap is likely even wider when you consider how many students were forced to delay their educations during the pandemic. 

While many tech employers have scaled back degree requirements in recent years, recent research has found that some major tech firms still demand a four-year degree for more than 70% of their job openings.

Read more: The talent shortage: demand for certain skills has skyrocketed

Because they’re so hard to find, qualified tech and IT professionals have commanded top salaries for years. Unprecedented competition among hiring companies has driven total compensation for these professionals even higher since 2020. 

This new environment has forced many organizations to do one of two things: place vital IT projects on hold while they try to build out their tech teams or try to pursue their (often lofty) tech initiatives with their current IT staff. The former can lead to delayed adoption of vital technologies and digital capabilities. The latter can leave companies vulnerable to high rates of burnout and subsequent turnover among top performers within their IT departments.

Considering that nearly half of our survey respondents said the talent shortage is their biggest barrier to success, it’s clear that the process of hiring has been challenging at best. 

Many organizations are turning to outsourcing and/or managed services to save money

Finally, nearly one-third of our survey respondents listed outsourcing or shared services as a key focus for reducing costs within their companies in 2022. 

This number may seem large at first glance, but it tracks when considering a few market realities: the ever-expanding gap between the demand for tech talent and the supply of professionals on the market, the global acceleration of digital transformation during the pandemic, and the rising costs of acquiring internal, long-term tech and IT specialists…just to name a few.

Outsourcing and/or shared services—also known as managed services—can be a life raft when a company’s tech team has been decimated by turnover or when new projects require tech expertise a company can’t afford to hire in-house.

Let’s explore how and why.

Managed IT services can provide support for legacy work and help you spearhead new projects

Most businesses can’t afford to let critical IT projects sit on the shelf while they source and interview candidate after candidate—especially in a market as competitive as this one. Delaying necessary tech initiatives can mean major business disruptions and lost revenue. 

On the other hand, companies also can’t just offload the work of an entire tech project onto their existing IT team.

If an IT department is already bogged down with repetitive maintenance, manning the IT help desk, or reacting to security threats, they need resources to take those tasks off of their hands—not more work added on top of it. The same goes for IT teams that are better equipped to handle day-to-day maintenance but are in over their heads with a complex tech integration or upgrade.

This is where managed IT services can make a big difference. 

The right managed services provider (MSP) can step in and handle a range of IT needs. Whether it’s ongoing network maintenance, cybersecurity, help desk support, legacy system management, app development…the list could go on.

Even large initiatives, like migrating all business applications to the cloud, can be handled by a trusted managed IT service firm. 

Read more: Find out how to choose the right managed services provider.

Generate cost savings and improve efficiency

As our survey data reveals, the cost-saving benefits of shared services and outsourcing are a big motivator for many businesses. 

Managed IT services, in particular, can reduce overhead, management, and labor costs and lower the risk of financially devastating cyber attacks. 

By improving the function and health of various systems and processes, MSPs can also reduce network downtime and increase the productivity of your existing teams. Companies can outline particular KPIs in their service-level agreements with MSPs to ensure that cost-control measures are met and can be adjusted as the work progresses. 

Additionally, many managed service providers, like Vaco, provide flexible solutions that can scale up or down as needed, allowing costs to be adjusted as the organization’s needs change.

As with all things, the benefits of managed services or outsourcing will only be realized if the right MSP is doing the work. Every company’s IT needs and goals are unique; a high-quality managed services partner will take a consultative approach to meeting those needs. 

Ready to explore managed services with a partner who’s with you all the way?

Learn more about managed IT services with Vaco.


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