Dec 16 2022

How Higher Ed IT Can Stay Fully Staffed During the ‘Great Resignation’

Staff augmentation services can plug gaps and support projects for institutions struggling with employee turnover.

Managing understaffed teams and improving worker retention have been on the minds of higher education leaders for years.

Even before the widespread challenges experienced during the “great resignation,” college and university employees were generally overworkedaging and underpaid. That’s led to a spate of resignations, and even as recently as May 2022, more than half of employees who have stayed on the job in higher ed reported they were considering their exit strategies.

IT departments have not been immune from the worker shortage either. Colleges and universities are unable to match the high salaries offered by corporate America and are struggling to fill job openings, especially in areas like cybersecurity, where a worldwide worker shortage persists.

So, what can IT decision-makers do when employees leave and there’s no one available to fill those jobs? The thousands of students, staff and faculty who rely heavily on technology and IT support are still demanding the same attention and resources. And in moments of crisis, like a cyberattack, institutions can’t afford to lose data or dollars because they’re understaffed.

Temporary or contract employees are becoming an increasingly popular solution to this challenge, and staff augmentation services like those provided by CDW AmplifiedTM Support can help connect skilled and specially trained IT professionals with the institutions that need them.

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What Does Staff Augmentation Mean for Higher Ed IT?

Staff augmentation services provide workers for all manner of IT jobs, from the most entry-level to the highest-skilled. They can offer project managers, web and software developers, data center engineers and even engineers that are experts in specific platforms, such as ServiceNow.

Temporary workers’ tenure within higher education IT departments can be anywhere from a couple months to eventual full-time employment. Employees provided through staff augmentation are generally hired on three- or 12-month contracts, with some universities offering a temp-to-hire pathway for those employees to join the team full-time if the fit is good.

The employees themselves are well vetted by CDW’s skilled technical team, and many are regular contract workers who hop from job to job as needed, so there’s no pressure to bring someone on for the long term if the university isn’t interested or able to make a more permanent commitment. The result is a low-stakes, low-cost and low-pressure hiring process, at least for the institution.

LEARN MORE: See how workforce training can maximize ROI on security tools.

When an institution engages with CDW to make a hire, they offer a budget for the position and are provided with a handful of the most qualified candidates. The institution then conducts interviews and chooses one or two candidates they prefer. Those workers are then taken through a rigorous onboarding process by CDW and delivered to the institution in a matter of weeks.

Should IT Departments Choose Staff Augmentation or Automation?

As technology improves and staff shortages persist, some universities have turned to automation to help fill the gaps in their departments. That’s a wise and worthwhile choice in many situations, but even the most sophisticated automation software still requires a human to monitor it as it operates.

For example, identity and access management tools are valuable resources to cut down on the potential for cyberattacks, but what happens when a user encounters an issue and needs support? Even Internet of Things tools, which are becoming more common in higher education settings, need someone to manage installation and support as long as they are in service.

Workers specifically trained in those types of tools are available through CDW AmplifiedTM Support, along with others to fit almost any IT task your team is undertaking. CDW higher education experts are ready to help you with the right technology and the right manpower to get the job done.

This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s UniversITy blog series.

Illustration by Janne Iivonen

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