Dec 19 2023

Filling IT Staffing Gaps in a Tight Higher Ed Labor Market

Competition for tech workers is only expected to intensify, so colleges and universities must be prepared to act quickly when employees depart.

Losing a member of the IT team hurts colleges and universities of any size, but the intensity and duration of the pain tend to increase as the size of the institution and its staff decrease.

To start with, the retirement or resignation of one worker on a 10-person staff creates a significantly larger workload for fewer people than it would for a staff of 50. Plus, smaller institutions — especially publicly funded ones — are more likely to have outdated equipment requiring specialized knowledge to maintain than either privately run peers of the same size or large, state-funded research universities.

In some cases, a college has employed a tech professional for decades who developed a homegrown solution for routine glitches with in aging devices that weren’t necessarily covered in any manual. Then, when that person left, someone else had to start resolving those issues. Often, no one knew how.

These are the kind of problems that are likely to occur more often as demand for tech workers spikes over the next decade.

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Staff Augmentation Services Bail Out Universities in a Staffing Pinch

A recent report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts and testers will expand 25 percent through 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. That translates to about 154,000 openings a year, fueled by continued development of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and robotics. Other contributing factors are widening investments in computer security software amid increasing data breaches and the departure of tech workers who are changing occupations or retiring.

One result is that higher education institutions, some facing crimped budgets because of comparatively high inflation and rising interest rates, will be competing with private employers in a much more challenging labor market.

These converging trends prompted EDUCAUSE to list recruiting and retaining talent under adverse circumstances among the top 10 trends and challenges in education IT for 2024.

Chances are that your university is feeling the strain in day-to-day operations already. At CDW, we can help with a custom-tailored solution through our staff augmentation services. For more than 20 years, we’ve provided customers access to experienced architects, engineers, project managers and consultants drawn from our deep national and in-market networks.

These contracted professionals can give your team expertise in a wide range of technologies, offering an objective view of IT that ensures you’ll always receive the right solution to your problems — not just the one that’s convenient.

Specific benefits include:

  • Access to skills not available inside your company
  • Ability to respond quickly to business changes
  • Minimizing payroll expenses
  • Reduction in overall time to hire
  • Freedom for your IT staff to focus on priority projects
  • Objective, comprehensive approaches to team projects

Whether you need a help desk staffer, a systems analyst or a network engineer, we take a specialized and seamless approach to filling your particular skills gap. We also have the flexibility to meet your needs, whether you want to add one person for a short period or an entire team for a full year.

The result? In much the same way that retail stores hire seasonal employees, you’ll be able to scale your augmented workforce up or down on demand.

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

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