Legacy technology has the potential to create serious challenges for CIOs and IT managers. For a start, there are legitimate concerns that an over-reliance on legacy technology has the potential to exacerbate an already skills short IT landscape. It proves increasingly hard to replace those professionals who are adept at working with these technologies but who are reaching the end of their careers.
However, the most pressing concern most companies face is the acute scarcity of skilled IT candidates. As our UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2017 survey revealed, 81% of IT employers stated that the shortage of suitable candidates is now their number one recruitment challenge, and 20% said they don’t have the talent needed to achieve their business objectives. Honing effective attraction and retention policies in order to ensure a steady pipeline of IT talent should therefore be a top strategic priority for all organisations.
This brings us to the main problem that legacy technology may be causing your business. Our recent What Workers Want Report 2017 surveyed over 13,650 professionals to discover what influences an employee’s decision to stay in a job or accept a new role. This report revealed that 40% of permanent IT professionals hope for a more challenging role in their next job.
It goes without saying that most IT workers are eager to continuously and consistently upskill in order to stay ahead of the ever-changing technology curve. Working with new technology is, in their opinion, key to growing, maintaining and utilising these skills.
However, short of scrapping all your technology based on COBOL or which uses a mainframe-based system, there are ways that you can ensure you meet the needs of your staff – both current and potential – to feel challenged in their roles. In doing so, you will be able to attract and retain talent, and help mitigate the risk of skills shortages impacting your future business plans.
1. Education, education, education
Our What Workers Want Report 2017 showed that IT employees desire a range of training support. For a group far more likely to be self-taught than many other professionals, this appreciation for continual training and development is unsurprising.
However, there is a notable mismatch between the types of training IT professionals want, and what they receive. For example, 80% of IT professionals want third party training – such as training offered by major industry players on their latest technology – and only 45% state they receive this from their employers. Similarly, 58% want access to formal mentoring, but only 29% state they receive this.
Employers should look to implement empowering and unique training and development programmes that IT professionals cannot simply access online in order to be seen as an employer of choice. However, it is vital that they also effectively communicate the availability of such programmes to their staff, and actively encourage participation.
2. All professional paths don’t have to lead to CIO
However, for those IT professionals who want theirs to, ensure that they have a clear roadmap for the future. Our survey revealed that 25% of IT professionals want to reach C-suite positions in their careers, higher than the overall average of 21%.
For 19% of developers, seniority level is not important. Despite this, most IT professionals are highly ambitious. Employers need to ensure that the unique goals of their staff are mapped out, and that for those wanting to reach leadership level, clear support and guidance should be provided. This may mean exposing a professional to cross-functional work in change management, or coaching on how to improve stakeholder management and commercial understanding. In so doing, you will be exposing your employees to challenges beyond working with the latest technology – namely the honing of their soft skills with the goal of moving up the career ladder.
Of course, when it comes to building effective attraction and retention policies, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. What workers want varies according to their age, seniority level and even gender. Wherever possible, it is necessary to tailor your pay, benefits, culture and career progression offerings according to the needs of the individual.
For more information or to discuss your employment needs in this field, please contact your local consultant.