IT professionals have been on the list of hard jobs to fill for years. It’s a well-known fact that finding and retaining good IT people is a challenge in Belgium. The annual number of IT vacancies in recent years has been systematically above the 10 to 11,000 mark in Belgium – and these are jobs that are not easily filled. What far fewer companies consider is the financial side of this issue, or what the total cost is of finding good, motivated IT specialists and then holding on to them.
The cost of finding them
The cost of recruiting an employee costs a company an average of €15,000 and that filling a vacancy takes an average of 45 days. For IT people, these are optimistic figures. The sector federation, Agoria, has calculated that unfilled IT jobs in Belgium cost more than €1 billion annually. Have you ever made the calculation for your company?
One important reason why IT jobs do not get filled is a qualitative mismatch, the VDAB said in a recent study about ‘sticky’ professions. “Employers are looking for highly-qualified IT people who know all about the technology and who have up-to-date knowledge in areas such as system architecture, Internet-based applications and system integration. In addition to computing knowledge, business and communication skills are becoming increasing important for the more senior profile,” says the report.
The real cost of recruiting a qualified IT employee is higher than many companies think. The strategy of employing someone permanently is often no guarantee of filling the job in the long term and meeting the needs of the IT department.
The cost of keeping them
If filling IT vacancies is no sinecure, many companies find keeping specialised IT people motivated and the IT department fully staffed just as big a challenge.
If employees are not given opportunities to advance or a chance to grow through training, a variety of projects or certifications, you risk losing them sooner or later. This dooms you to the task of incurring new recruitment and notice costs, not to mention a lack of continuity within the IT function. And then there’s the cost of the loss of knowledge. For non-IT companies, offering these specialist training opportunities and certifications can cost several thousand euros per year per person. And that’s not even part of the company’s core business.
There’s also the often ‘forgotten’ cost of ensuring the IT department is properly staffed during holiday period, training courses or illness. For instance, organising backup for scheduled and unplanned absences can cost up to 25 per cent extra on top of the total cost of an IT employee.
Trend to seek help from outside
For many companies, finding and retaining IT specialists is an ongoing financial challenge and can even be a ‘Catch 22’: there don’t appear to be any really good solutions. Or are there?
These days there are flexible and transparent ‘total’ solutions available that enable you as a company to fill your needs locally in IT expertise, for the short or long term, at a fixed cost per month. With Professional Services it is the provider of these IT people who takes on the task of finding motivated staff with the right experience and skills, from A to Z. This local partner, whose core business is IT, also provides ongoing training opportunities and backup where necessary.
Agoria has seen the trend towards outsourcing ICT services grow in recent years. One of the main drivers in this area is filling IT vacancies faster and more flexibly. But controlling costs, guaranteeing permanent IT staffing and a greater focus on the company’s core business are also strong arguments for bringing in help from outside.