Business & Finance
News
10/5/2007
01:15 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%
Repost This

CIOs Rank IT Talent Their No. 1 Worry, SIM Survey Finds

IT execs are starting to see a looming shortage of people with the mix of tech and business skills they'll need.

CIOS rank attracting, developing, and retaining talent as their No. 1 concern. It marks the first time in 10 Society for Information Management surveys that this people issue came out on top. Maybe now more companies will start acting like people really are their "most important asset."

IT talent is the only concern cited by at least half of the 130 CIOs and senior business technology executives from 112 companies who were surveyed. Next highest are IT and business alignment, last year's No. 1 concern, and building business skills among IT staff, which is among the top 10 concerns for the first time.

The concerns show business technology executives fretting about having enough people with a mix of tech and business skills. Why all the worry now? "There's not a large enough pipeline of talent," says Jerry Luftman, VP of academic affairs for SIM and associate dean of graduate information systems programs at Stevens Institute of Technology. That's especially true of entry-level people tapped to fill the void left by retiring baby boomers. Those retirees will take with them not just years of tech expertise, but also decades of accumulated knowledge about applying that expertise to a specific business and its customers.

Academia is part of the problem, says Luftman. U.S. universities and colleges are seeing declining enrollment in tech-related programs, and they aren't proactive in infusing their programs with business and other softer-skills courses to groom more-rounded tech professionals, he says.

chart: The CIO Worry List
That's partly because those who do graduate with IT-related degrees are hired quickly, putting little pressure on schools to invest in curricula that would better balance the business tech needs of employers, Luftman says. Stevens Institute of Technology, he says, is among those hesitant to make dramatic changes to its tech degree programs, as the vast majority of students land tech jobs months before they graduate.

WHERE'S THE TRAINING?
Employers aren't off the hook, either. A recent Forrester Research report, "Skills Assessment, A 21st Century Imperative For CIOs," found that most companies acknowledge a looming brain drain, yet most have no programs to prepare for it. InformationWeek Research's annual Salary Survey this year found that of 7,281 IT pros, only 40% say they receive further education and training, and only 30% get tuition reimbursement. Hardly numbers that reflect a premium on developing talent.

Business technology pros must be feeling the rising demand for their skills: Only 17% say they worry about losing their jobs, according to a survey of 400 tech pros by staffing and outsourcing firm Hudson. Eighty percent say they're happy with their jobs.

CIOs aren't so sanguine about their own jobs. One out of five is concerned about the evolving leadership role of the CIO--how and where the CIO position fits within the organization, Luftman says. This year, 31% of CIOs in the SIM survey report to their CEOs, compared with 45% last year. More are reporting to the CFO or COO. Luftman sees in that a struggle at companies with whether they view IT as a cost center or a strategic investment.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Agile Archive
The Agile Archive
When it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 - 2014
Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Audio Interviews
Archived Audio Interviews
GE is a leader in combining connected devices and advanced analytics in pursuit of practical goals like less downtime, lower operating costs, and higher throughput. At GIO Power & Water, CIO Jim Fowler is part of the team exploring how to apply these techniques to some of the world's essential infrastructure, from power plants to water treatment systems. Join us, and bring your questions, as we talk about what's ahead.