Businesses stuck in IT staff availability versus cost dilemma

IT directors in Britain’s businesses are stuck in a dilemma trying to cut costs while keeping IT staff on tap, according to a new survey.

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IT directors in British businesses are stuck in a dilemma trying to cut costs while keeping IT staff on tap, according to a new survey.

Some 71 percent use contractors to fill skills shortages, but were struggling to fill the gaps as pressure mounts for them to cut budgets.

Of 200 UK IT directors surveyed, some 46 percent wanted to add resources but were trapped in watertight contracts with contractor firms.

Over half said they overpaid contractors and were unable to do much about it. The contracts most of them had signed demanded fixed payments over a fixed period, they said, and additional resources or time was sold in blocks, creating further difficult commitments.

Even when they were paying heavily, 71 percent of firms said they could not hire people with the right skills and experience, holding back IT projects. And the costs of contracting were eating away at training budgets for in-house staff, they said.

Mike Devlin, director at IT services firm Morse, which commissioned the Vanson Bourne research, said businesses needed to look to ‘flexible resourcing’ – a managed service that ideally allows businesses to get hold of the extra IT staff they need, soon after that requirement becomes apparent. Contracts are normally more flexible and allow for faster variations on capacity, he said.

“Employing contractors can enable organisations to fill skills gaps quickly, but on the other hand it can make the IT department less flexible and unable to respond to the changing needs of the business,” he said.

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