6 signs it's time to hire more IT staff
By Carol Ko 16-Apr-2012
With cloud computing entering the corporate IT scene, and flagging opportunities to turn capital expenses to operational expenses, some IT practitioners have expressed worries about their companies may downsize the IT department, and have positions like system administration, security and sometimes even a portion of application development 'outsourced' to third-party cloud-service providers.
On the other side of the fence, IT leaders sometimes wonder if cloud computing adoption can solve their problems of IT skills shortage. Take the financial services sector as an example, recruitment agency Robert Half's recently released "2012 Salary Guide Banking & Financial Services" revealed that the three key economies in Asia -- Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan -- indicated the challenges of locating skilled IT professionals.
Robert Half's research report stated that the requirements for certain IT positions may vary across industries but companies in Asia are generally looking for these types of candidates: 1) System and platform architects that understand the business' needs and strategies; 2) Business analysts to serve as go-betweens for technology and business; 3) Developers that are skilled in .NET and Java and portal technologies such as SharePoint; 4) IT audit who will need to ensure internal IT controls and deal with irregularities prior to statutory audits; 5) IT risk and compliance to help build and maintain internal controls; and 6) Project managers with techical experience, strong communication and interpersonal skills.
When is it time to hire?
There are six signs as to when it is the time to recruit more staff, according to Robert Half. These signs apply not just to the financial services but to all industries in general. In fact most of the signs are quite obvious, but they serve as good reminders for IT leaders when the team needs more help.
1. Employees are continually working overtime to avoid falling behind
According to Pallavi Anand, director of Robert Half Hong Kong, "When your staff work overtime, it reduces productivity because there is only that much a person can only do." Worse still, continually burning the midnight oil will only deplete employee morale.
2. Top performers are missing deadlines or regularly asking for extensions
"It is not a good sign when your top performers are regularly asking for extensions. It really means they are overloaded," Anand said.
3. 'Non-urgent' projects frequently get deferred or are scrapped entirely
"When this happens, the organization is likely to be understaffed or the employees are likely to be overloaded. Employees are advised to review their work priorities," she explained.
4. Managers are stepping in regularly
This is when the absence of just one staff member due to illness or other work commitment forces the managers to take on routine tasks as no one else is available. "We are seeing this a lot. A lot of the companies are getting their managers to step in when the work should have been handled by people with different skill sets. If the managers start doing routine work which your regular staff with different skill sets should be doing, what happens to the strategy of the company? The only good reasons for managers to step in are, either their members are unable to cope with their present workload, or their staff productivity levels are down," Anand said.
5. Increase in complaints about work or service quality
These are the signals that the team is struggling with workload, or are not dedicating enough time to specific projects.
6. Turning away business
The lack of bandwidth to handle new business or act on strategic initiatives puts the company's future success at risk. Anand said, "If you have to walk away from businesses because you don't have enough staff to actually take on the new projects, it clearly indicates that you need to hire more staff."