Companies Urged To Invest In IT Staff Despite Shaky Recovery

Companies need to develop IT skills despite the chilly 2010 outlook, says the BCS, pointing to tools such as its SFIAplus framework

Businesses cannot afford to stop hiring new IT staff until there are concrete signs of a recovery; they should develop their tech workforce now, according to survey released by BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.

The organisation stated that its research shows that over a third of companies believe nurturing IT talent is one of the key tasks in 2010, along with improved strategy and planning and business change. “Current predictions of a fragile recovery for 2010 don’t reveal the necessary strategic business changes and tough decisions that will be needed to make that happen across all sectors,” said Cliff Lineker, BCS strategic business development director. “Senior IT decision-makers are right to be concerned about making sure they have the skilled staff in the right roles to exploit the value of IT consistently and effectively to move the business forward.”

One of the tools that the BCS believes IT management should be taking advantage of to help coach and develop staff is the SFIAplus programme which the organisation has been developing since the 1980s. The training framework covers aspects of staff development including understanding the different job roles in IT departments and creating standard ways to describe these different roles and measure performance within them. “Tools such as the government-backed and widely adopted IT skills training and development standard SFIAplus help organisations build and develop effective plans for future changes through the analysis of the core skills and capabilities needed by employees to complete a project,” said Lineker.

According to the BCS, virtually all (97 percent) of the IT managers surveyed by the organisation felt it was important to know exactly what skills their IT team possess going into 2010. “It is important that companies still invest time and energy into recruiting and retaining key employees of the future. Even in a recession, people with sought-after skills and abilities will always find an appropriate market,” said Lineker.

A survey late last year released by Computer Economics titled “Outlook for IT Staffing and Spending in 2010,” revealed that 39 percent of 139 companies surveyed plan to increase hiring in 2010, while 52 percent of those companies will increase operational technology budgets in 2010.

Another survey released in December stated that the first quarter of 2010 will see some minor IT hiring increases, but also a small amount of IT job loss. According to a Robert Half Technology study released on 1 December, of 1,400 CIOs surveyed in the US, 7 percent said they expect an increase in hiring, while 4 percent expect to reduce staff for a net gain of 3 percent in favour of hiring.