Short-staffed IT departments call for skilled management

As many IT managers know, the tech candidate pool isn’t in prime condition at the current moment.

With the constant advancement of technological tools and systems, IT is becoming a more integral component of businesses in practically every field. Because of this increased implementation of IT solutions, corporations have been in need of more labor resources.

However, viable job candidates capable of using new hardware and software in an optimal manner are few and far between. As a result, chief information officers at various companies find themselves scrambling to fill positions – often with little success.

Insufficient STEM studies to be addressed
According to IDG News, the primary cause of this shortfall in IT prospects is insufficient education throughout the United States. This country’s youth appears to be constantly tapped into its own gadgets – be smartphones, tablets or anything else mobile – and yet it has little interest in chasing careers throughout the technological field.

Furthermore, the most unfortunate part of it is that American secondary education institutions do not seem to be pushing them to pursue studies in so-called “STEM” disciplines. At the same time, colleges and universities are not making an effort when it comes to guiding students onto degree tracks in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. Consequently, these institutions are doing companies no favors, failing to produce graduates to meet the rising demand for IT professionals

The news source reported that a Bayer-sponsored study found that businesses throughout every industry sector are experiencing an IT employment dilemma. They are creating positions at a more rapid rate than they can pin down the applicants who can fill them properly.

In fact, researchers carrying out the Bayer study found that only 55 percent of CIOs were able to track down adequate STEM applicants with 2-year degrees to fill their vacant IT jobs in a timely fashion. This percentage drops to an even 50 for recruiters seeking tech professionals with 4-year degrees in IT specializations.

Perhaps American universities will soon catch on to the changing landscape of the employment market, tweaking their programs to help out CIOs. Even if colleges across the country decide to dedicate some of their efforts to entice more students to take on STEM majors, then there will still be a grace period when companies will be short on workforce resources. Because of this, IT departments are going to have to change the way they operate so that they can make do with limited staffs.

How managers get by in the meantime
The first aspect of tech management that needs to be tackled are the IT managers themselves, CIO.com explained. Personnel cannot work efficiently without the right kind of leader driving them to do more, better.

Although CIOs hold positions of power within an IT department and a company as a whole, that does not necessarily mean that they were born to be authoritative figures.

“While there are some things one cannot change about individuals, some leadership traits can be learned. There are very few people who are natural leaders – leadership is something people have to work at. Knowing what your shortcomings are, and recognizing them as such, is half the battle,” said IT executive Allan Boardman, according to the news source.

Often times, it is an uphill battle managing a staff consisting of varying personalities who boast distinctly different skill sets. Even those who do feel as if they had a certain aptitude for motivating others and for making the most of their departments’ resources may encounter issues now. With the regular adoption of new and foreign technology, IT executives are going to have to work extra hard to have their compromised teams carry out all of the work that needs to be done.

Most importantly, to be able to refine their leadership capabilities, CIOs will have to be self-aware. By recognizing their exact strengths and weakness, IT executives will be more apt to make adjustments to their own operations, as well as those of their departments.

If CIOs know the limitations of their team members and themselves, they can strategically structure their staffs, assigning specific personnel to take on the tasks that would suit them best. This will ensure that IT departments – no matter how short-staffed they may be – can support the solutions they have selected to install throughout their companies.

Marie Larsen
Marie is a writer for CIOs.com. She has an educational background in languages and literature. She covers IT trends and executive technology management topics for the company.