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Why You Have a Hard Time Retaining IT Support Staff

IT skills are in demand.

For years now, a growing shortage of IT/digital skills has been high on the agenda of business leaders, successive governments and the academic community.

We all know that technology is evolving quickly, so as soon as people are up-skilled another set of opportunities and threats present themselves which require further training and expertise. Businesses with in-house IT teams are finding it challenging to keep up with the change of pace. Not only is technology evolving, but those with suitable skills and training are in high demand.

Meanwhile, small and medium businesses still need access to enough IT talent to maintain mission-critical systems. Unfortunately, this growing demand is creating a talent shortage that SMEs (and enterprises) are struggling to fill. Competing with exciting projects, new technology and big tech firms is becoming a real struggle across the private sector.

Why do SMEs struggle to recruit and retain IT talent?

First and second line support isn’t always the most exciting work. But without this support, mission-critical IT systems, such as connectivity, Wi-Fi, phones and email could go down. Causing havoc and disruption in most workplaces. Businesses rely on IT systems, which means they need immediate on-demand support to fix problems as and when they occur.

Numerous factors, including the age of the IT systems and number of users (employees), impact how much IT support a company requires. Some may only need a few hours a month. For others, this is a full-time role or requires a team. When a full-team or even one full-time person isn’t required, this role can often fall to an IT professional who's responsible for fixing things only when they break. This isn’t always the most practical of solutions.

Either crucial long-term projects are put on hold, or you have a member of staff without enough work to occupy them if they're recruited as “IT support.” When your IT support is ad-hoc, downtime can have a serious impact on productivity. At the same time, when long-term IT projects are ad-hoc, with more urgent matters taking top priority, the person responsible may get tired of resetting passwords and faulty systems when they were hired for a seemingly more exciting project.

Other factors include a lack of career progression, resources or support. Unrealistic expectations, such as juggling a large internal IT project and attempting to manage short-term problems can lead to IT professionals looking elsewhere for work. Too much shifting gears, too many complaints and related challenges are enough to make even the most dedicated professional look for something more interesting, with a chance for progression. In IT roles, SMEs can’t always offer those same compensations and benefits.

An Alternative: Outsourcing IT Support?

If resources allow, and you’ve got an IT professional juggling multiple projects, including service desk, you could recruit someone for IT support. However, if there’s not quite enough for a full or part-time role, you might want to consider outsourcing. Here are a few of the benefits of IT outsourcing:

  • You’re no longer competing for talent. IT companies attract a wide range of skilled professionals, from those well versed in cutting-edge technology to those with decades of experience;
  • Control costs. Benefit from fixed or sliding costs, depending on what you need;
  • More resources and technology, including self-serve for your staff. Making it easier for them to fix problems themselves, reducing costs or ensuring an IT partner can support your strategic goals;
  • Quicker response and resolution times. Now you have dedicated first and second line support, ensuring that your mission-critical systems are running smoothly around the clock.

To find out more about IT support services click here.

For an informal chat about your organisation’s needs and to explore solutions appropriate to your specific circumstances give me a call! Contact me on 0845 643 6060 or email

Tags: IT Support
Jane Jenkins

About Jane Jenkins

HR, Compliance and Administration Manager at UKN Group.

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