Low Unemployment, Tight Budgets Challenge IT

By Perry Vandell

Information-technology companies will continue to have trouble finding suitable candidates to fill their open positions. That’s according to CompTIA’s industry outlook for 2015.

A survey of nearly 650 IT companies revealed that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of executives “expect to face a challenging or very challenging hiring environment for technical positions this year.”

CompTIA cites numbers compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – which show the unemployment rate for those in computer and mathematics occupations is less than half the national rate – as evidence of the strong demand for IT workers.

According to CompTIA President and CEO Todd Thibodeaux, a lack of qualified IT professionals could stagnate progress in the tech industry.

“Companies across our industry are delivering affordable, creative technology solutions for businesses and consumers alike, but the persistent shortage of workers educated, trained and certified in the latest technologies threatens to stall the pace of innovation,” Thibodeaux said in a press release.

CompTIA also reports that 43 percent of IT companies in the U.S. have job openings, while another 36 percent are fully staffed, but want to add more people to expand their business. IT companies are so starved for people that about 20 percent have either canceled or postponed projects because they were understaffed.

These issues arise at a time when IT departments at many companies are strapped for cash. A survey conducted by Spiceworks shows that only one-third (33 percent) of IT professionals expect their budgets to increase over last year. When it comes to those expecting new hires in their company’s IT department, that number drops to one-quarter (25 percent).

Instead, many IT departments are devoting their 2015 budgets to replacing aging hardware and software. Spiceworks reports that more than half of the desktops and laptops in its network are more than four years old, while 20 percent are more than seven years old.

However, the company suspects that many IT departments will have trouble migrating from Windows Server 2003 before the recommended deadline, July 14, 2015. Of the companies in Spiceworks’ network, almost two-thirds (65 percent) have at least one instance of Microsoft’s aging server operating system running in their environment.

Somehow, IT companies and departments will have to solve these dilemmas without the money to add the new hires they need, of which there are too few.

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