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The pandemic has forced businesses to drastically rethink they work. In most cases, this has triggered digital transformation initiatives. In fact, even as the pandemic fades away, businesses are continuing with the implementation of these plans. A report from Gartner shows that 58% of IT leaders reported either an increase or a plan to increase emerging technology investments in 2021, compared with 29% in 2020.

Here’s the thing: these transformations require qualified staff, lots of them. And it’s slowly but surely dawning on IT leaders that this staff is not readily available.

According to the Gartner survey, businesses believe a shortage of talent to be the biggest obstacle standing in the way of 64% of new tech they’d like to adopt. Although in 75% of cases, the issue is associated with IT automation technologies, a similar predicament is developing across computer infrastructure, platform services, networking, security, storage and database—to name a few.

To add insult to injury, the huge rise in demand for tech employees comes at a time when there’s already a major talent shortage. Companies that don’t find a way to secure the right talent will soon find themselves unable to compete against businesses that can deploy new technologies more rapidly.

Why is there a tech worker shortage?

The shortage of tech talent is not new. More than 50% of CEOs expressed their concern over the lack of digital talent over 10 years ago. Heck, by 2019, 79% were kind of worried. In essence, what the pandemic did is make the skills gap a lot wider.

Where we’re at right now: according to a survey from TalentLMS and Workable, 72% of tech employees in the US are considering leaving their jobs in the next year. About 40% of them say that limited opportunities for career progression play a role. Other common reasons include non-flexible work hours, a lack of remote working options, feeling under-appreciated, and a toxic work environment. A whopping 85% said they felt their company focused more on attracting new talent than investing in existing staff. Unsurprisingly perhaps, 58% said they were suffering from burnout.

The reality is that the pandemic-induced “Great Resignation” is continually propelling people to reassess what they want out of work—and life overall. Some are going back to school while others are switching industries or taking the leap into the great wide open, AKA the freelance world.

Ultimately, for businesses that wish to survive (and even thrive), it’s time to get creative about attracting and retaining talent!

MSPs need to get creative to cultivate tech talent

The battle for tech talent will be one we all fight for years to come. And really this makes perfect sense considering that COVID-19 managed to squeeze 10 years’ worth of digital transformation into one insane year. In order to plug their labor shortage, companies that can afford it have hiked their wages and begun offering hiring bonuses. Companies who can’t afford it are up against wage inflation in an already competitive field. The situation is particularly trying for small and medium-sized businesses.

But still, there is hope. Considering that so many employees are leaving or considering leaving due to lack of opportunities for advancement, lack of flexible work arrangements, and less-than-stellar work environments, you may have the greatest success focusing your creative solutions there. These might include any of the following:

Upskill or your staff

Providing more access to training and education can do wonders for boosting motivation. That’s why 42% of companies say they plan to upskill or reskill their current staff.

Consider apprenticeships

Reevaluating what it takes to qualify for a job in tech may be the wave of the future. The majority of HR professionals support eliminating the 4-year degree requirement for many positions, paving the way for tech apprenticeships as a more efficient way to deliver training.

Hire the youth

Some companies, including Intel, are hiring students still in college to cope with a labor shortage in the midst of an ever-rising demand for their products.

Offer flexible work arrangements

Allowing for greater flexibility with regard to where and when employees are permitted to get their work done is a no-brainer. After all, across all industries, ‘remote work’ job listings have increase 357%, with the tech sector leading in job listings. CodinGame found that 95% of developers vastly prefer a hybrid working model. So if you can, do.

Hire globally

Consider harnessing the freelance economy to search farther from home for tech talent. This is a limited solution, as companies are feeling a lack of talent worldwide. Nonetheless, widening your candidate pool will not hurt.

Get creative with benefits

Even if you can’t afford to hike wages, you may be able to lure top talent with improved benefits packages. According to Glassdoor, 80% of employees prefer additional benefits over a pay increase. From basic health care benefits, to paid leave, retirement savings plans, viable childcare options, and much more, benefits that provide a better experience are what many would-be employees are after.

The business benefits of outsourcing

Another solution that doesn’t always occur to businesses as they try to find creative solutions to the tech worker shortage is outsourcing. Think of it as a super smart way to increase your capacity—fast. Read on for just a few of the benefits.

Better resources

While an internal helpdesk team is limited by your financial resources and the trainings you offer, an outsourced team can draw from a wider range of expertise, as well as access to enterprise-grade support tools.

It’s not all or nothing

Don’t want all in? You can always outsource 80% of your helpdesk services and keep a small, dedicated team in-house to handle highly-specialized services. The best of both worlds.

Lower costs

When you outsource your helpdesk, you’re only paying for the precise level of service you require—be it high or low. Your costs are reduced because you don’t have to hire extra in-house agents to cover potential rush periods.

Improved response times

Outsourced helpdesk teams can call on additional staff whenever there is extra demand. As such, they always answer calls as fast as possible, and reliably too.

‘Round the clock support

With a small internal team, providing after-hours support can be very challenging. But a large outsourced helpdesk team is ready to assist customers 24/7. Let’s face it, ‘round the clock means happier customers more likely of giving you repeat business.

‘Futurized’ services

An outsourced helpdesk team can also take care of all software updates and agent training, and is always ready for a new product or service management platform. In other words, you don’t have to worry about catching them up with any and every change you make.

Performance metrics

Leading outsourced helpdesk providers like GMS offer cutting edge reporting and metrics tools to better monitor your company’s performance. You’ll gain new insights that will help you do your job better.

Bottom line

Whether it’s outsourcing your helpdesk, offering more flexible work arrangements, revamping your benefits packages, or all of the above, taking action now to find and keep that top talent your company so sorely needs will free up time and allow you to recenter, recalibrate, and rededicate your staff to the core business at hand. You’ll spend less time on admin tasks like support and a lot more time on the creative revenue-generating activities your company needs to thrive rather than just survive!

Of course, working with an expert partner can make a big difference when it comes to acquiring resources to help MSPs overcome the present tech worker shortage. An award-winning cloud solutions provider like Sherweb, for example, has services and expertise available to help tech providers grow despite ongoing market challenges. Check out our Partner Guide to learn more, or join our partner network to get started.

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb