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Majority of Organizations Employ Short-Sighted Workforce Planning Strategy; Hiring Qualified Contingent Workers Becoming More Difficult

For media inquiries, please contact us at media@TEKsystems.com.


TEKsystems survey reveals the majority of IT workforce planning efforts are focused quarter to quarter; Uncovers high dependence on assembly of “flash teams” 

TEKsystems®, a leading provider of IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services, today announced survey findings that examine the current state of project-based IT staffing-focused workforce planning initiatives. More than 300 IT leaders (i.e., chief information officers, IT vice presidents, IT directors, IT hiring managers) were polled.

Key findings of the survey include:

IT Workforce Planning Programs Lack Formalization

7 of 10 IT leaders indicate hiring IT talent is more challenging today than five years ago.

Does your organization have a formal strategic workforce planning strategy?

Yes

No

 

53%

47%

In today's business environment, it is more challenging to staff IT projects today than it was five years ago.

Strongly agree / Agree

Neither agree nor disagree

Disagree / Strongly disagree

 

68%

21%

11%

Which of the following best describes the level of role responsible for planning and implementing the workforce planning strategy?

Response rate

C-suite (e.g., CEO, CIO, COO, CHRO)

7%

Vice president

15%

Director

37%

Manager

37%

Other

4%

  • TEKsystems’ Take: Just over half (53 percent) of organizations indicate they have a formal workforce planning strategy in place, so it’s not surprising nearly 7 in 10 agree it’s more challenging to staff IT projects now than it was five years ago. Additionally, it appears workforce planning is not seen as an organizational level strategic priority, as 74 percent of respondents report overall program responsibility is held by a manager or director rather than the upper-level management. The war for talent has created an environment in which the competition for the most in-demand skill sets is at an all-time high, and organizations are struggling to find qualified candidates in a reasonable amount of time. In addition, with more IT spend occurring outside of IT departments, identifying initiatives and necessary personnel to successfully build and run them is increasingly more difficult as IT leaders don’t have insight into IT projects across the entire organization.
For Nearly Three-Quarters of Respondents, the Time Horizon for Workforce Planning is Less than Three Months Ahead of Initiative Start Date

6 of 10 have suffered from negative business outcomes due to lack of planning.

On average, what is the timeframe, prior to kicking off a project, that your organization begins workforce planning for it?

Response rate

Less than one month

25%

One to three months

48%

Four to six months

15%

Seven to nine months

5%

Ten to 12 months

1%

More than 12 months

2%

We don't typically workforce plan prior to kicking off a project

4%

Has an inability to workforce plan effectively led to negative business outcomes for your organization? (e.g., an project over budget, missed deadlines, rework.)

Yes

No

 

62%

38%

  • TEKsystems’ Take: As the rapid rate of digital transformation forces organizations to be more agile in developing IT-based initiatives, it appears planning for required personnel has become a “quarter-by-quarter” approach, with 73 percent of respondents reporting they only start workforce planning 90 days out or less. While this may have evolved as the current model, it is not ideal as 62 percent of organizations report negative business outcomes as a result of this strategy. Separate research has shown that 84 percent of employers believe that candidate quality is the most common problem they face in workforce planning. If IT leaders begin addressing this issue earlier in the planning process and partner with a provider capable of accessing top quality candidates, the chances of placing the right person in the right role significantly increase.
Hiring Qualified Candidates Quickly is the Biggest Pain Point

Several challenges emerge related to putting productive IT workers in place.

What are the most difficult aspects of workforce planning for initiatives in your organization? [select all that apply] – top three responses

Response rate

Hiring qualified IT talent quickly

68%

Screening for qualified candidates

29%

Onboarding IT professionals

21%

Which of the following has your organization experienced as a result of a lack of available, qualified IT professionals due to gaps in workforce planning? [select all that apply] – top three responses

Response rate

Bandwidth issues

58%

Missed timelines

55%

Productivity issues

51%

  • TEKsystems’ Take: In response to being asked about the most difficult aspects of workforce planning, the top three responses were all related to finding and quickly enabling candidates to become productive. Specifically, respondents listed hiring qualified IT talent quickly (68 percent), screening for qualified candidates (29 percent) and onboarding IT professionals (21 percent). These pain points correlate directly to the need to address workforce planning earlier to ensure organizations not only have the most qualified candidates in the door, but that they’re ready to add value quickly when projects and initiatives kickoff. IT leaders report that failure to attain qualified IT professionals due to workforce planning gaps has resulted in bandwidth issues (58 percent), missed timelines (55 percent) and productivity issues (51 percent), all of which can result in negative business outcomes. Engaging workforce planning partners as early in the process as possible better ensures organizations have the right candidates with the right skills when they are needed.
Hiring Contingent Workers is a Top Strategy to Address Skill Gaps

Less than half of respondents rate quality as excellent or very good.

Which workforce solution is typically most effective in filling skill gaps for your IT projects?

Response rate

Hiring contingent labor to fill skill gaps

33%

Utilizing existing internal employees who have the skills we need

28%

Hiring full-time staff to fill skill gaps

18%

Training internal employees on new and necessary skill sets

17%

Other

4%

How often do you use contingent labor to fill your workforce planning needs?

Always/Often

Sometimes

Rarely/Never

40%

42%

18%

How would you rate the quality of contingent labor your company uses to meet workforce planning needs?

Excellent to very good

Good

Fair to poor

48%

39%

13%

  • TEKsystems’ Take: Contingent labor remains the most widely used resource to address skills gaps for IT initiatives, with a third of organizations reporting it as their go-to method. But only 48 percent—less than half of those surveyed—report the quality of contingent workers as being excellent to very good. Organizational agility is critical today, and building effective teams quickly is a vital component to achieving that ability. However, our data indicates that organizations attempting to do so in a vacuum aren’t successful. Without the appropriate programs and partnerships in place, the process for acquiring personnel results in a kind of “flash team,” emphasizing speed over quality, which can impact initiatives negatively before they even start. At a strategic level, organizations should move beyond the “quarter-to-quarter” approach and consider evaluating contingent labor already in place to see if viable candidates are available to support subsequent initiatives.

“It’s clear that workforce planning often occurs as an afterthought as compared to other areas of planning for IT projects and initiatives,” says TEKsystems Research Manager Jason Hayman. “Most organizations invest an appropriate amount of planning time into budgeting or defining scope, yet delay in identifying the skill sets needed to build and run the project. This simply isn’t a successful or sustainable strategy. This type of “just add water” team likely has a very different composition than the one you would build with a true workforce planning program, which supplies your staffing partners with the insight needed to provide you the strongest candidates as opposed to just the first-available. Organizations could avoid the negative issues they’re experiencing as a result of this short-term mentality if they invest more time and care into workforce planning for their initiatives.”

TEKsystems’ Jason Hayman is available for additional commentary. For more information about the survey, or to schedule an interview, please contact Nathan Bowen at nabowen@teksystems.com.

About TEKsystems

People are at the heart of every successful business initiative. At TEKsystems, we understand people. Every year we deploy more than 80,000 IT professionals at 6,000 client sites across North America, Europe and Asia. Our deep insights into IT human capital management enable us to help our clients achieve their business goals–while optimizing their IT workforce strategies. We provide IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services to help our clients plan, build and run their critical business initiatives. Through our range of quality-focused delivery models, we meet our clients where they are, and take them where they want to go, the way they want to get there.