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Staffing problems in IT discussed at IT Governance summit

IT Governance Institute : 26 June, 2008  (New Product)
Free report available on the outcome of discussions held between 5 senior IT executives concerning the challenges of staffing IT projects
After a recent international survey of CEOs and CIOs revealed that IT staffing was respondents' top IT problem, five IT executives from around the world gathered to discuss IT staffing challenges and solutions. The nonprofit, independent IT Governance Institute (ITGI) has published the discussion as a complimentary download. The document, titled IT Governance Roundtable—IT Staffing Challenges, relates the experts' views on topics such as outsourcing, compensation and retention.

Participants in the roundtable discussion included:.

* John Ambra, CISA, CISSP, MCSO- 27001, LA - QSA, North American regional manager at Modulo Security Solutions.
* Ken Doughty, CISA, CBCP, senior manager of Risk Management at ING Australia.
* Anthony Noble, CISA, vice president of IT audit at Viacom.
* John Pironti, CISA, CISM, CGEIT, CISSP, ISSAP, ISSMP, chief information risk strategist at Getronics.
* Kenneth Vander Wal, CISA, partner at Ernst & Young.

Their roundtable discussion examined topics such as whether there is a shortage of IT staff or specialist skills, what companies are doing to address this problem, how outsourcing is exacerbating the situation, and how companies can retain quality employees.

According to the report, the top five staffing issues are:.

1 There is a shortage of certain IT specialisations rather than an overall staff shortage.
2 Companies are facing significant retention problems.
3 Young people are afraid to pursue a career in IT because of outsourcing and instability fears.
4 Academia needs to offer updated curricula that meet the demands of the current marketplace.
5 Companies should invest in their employees by, for example, offering a defined career path, cross-training opportunities and continuing education to keep their best talent.

"The general consensus among employees is 'Why should I look past the three-year horizon when the company I work for does not offer pensions, defined long-term career paths and can let go of employees at will?'" said Pironti.

To solve this problem, "companies need to change their culture to focus on employee longevity and retaining skilled staff," Vander Wal said. "Whether it's offering extra benefits or providing employees with cross-training experiences, companies must take a long-term view and work to keep their best talent."

An additional challenge in finding qualified IT staff is that young people are hesitant to join a field they perceive as unstable.

"It is difficult to persuade young people to go into IT when they think their jobs could be outsourced in the near future," said Noble.

"With the IT industry continually and rapidly changing, universities must update their curricula regularly to reflect the most current IT challenges," Doughty said. "Students will be more excited to pursue IT and will be much greater assets to companies when their academic background discusses top-of-mind IT issues and prepares them for real-world challenges."
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