IT staffing issues remain a major concern, say execs

IT executives from around the world gathered to discuss IT staffing challenges and solutions.
  • Leo King (Computerworld)
  • 07 July, 2008 15:26

Finding the right IT staff remains a challenge for large companies, according to a roundtable of executives.

"The problem we are having is attracting qualified IT staff, particularly in our company, where we have a large number of legacy systems and want to migrate them," said Kenneth Doughty, senior manager of risk at ING bank in Australia, at the recent IT Governance Institute's IT staffing challenges roundtable held in the US.

"This has been a real challenge for us."

John Pironti, chief information risk strategist at IT services provider Getronics, said the question "may not be about an overall shortage, but rather a shortage of specific skill sets that are still in high demand, that we just don't have training cycles for and can't find fast enough."

Finding application management staff was a major problem, participants said. Anthony Noble, CISA at media firm Viacom, said that company was putting in an SAP system, but even finding enough staff trained around the latest version of that software was difficult. "It's not necessarily insufficient skills, it's outdated skills," he said.

Pironti said many IT staff were disillusioned in a downturn where companies would "let go of employees at will" and were not investing in long term career paths. Kenneth Vander Wal, CISA at audit and consultancy firm Ernst & Young, said companies "need to change their culture to focus on employee longevity and retaining skilled staff."

University IT courses should teach IT within the context of current "real world challenges" outside of technology in order to create more interest in the subject, according to Doughty at ING.

The comments reflect the findings of the IT Governance Institute's report in February that found a shortage of IT workers was the top IT-related concern of C-level executives.