Are IT Professionals Over-Qualified And Under-Utilised?

A study of UK IT decision makers, commissioned by IPsoft, has identified a worrying trend in over-qualified IT professionals spending nearly a third of their time on low level IT tasks such as responding to incidences and checking for errors.

The Vanson Bourne research identifies a clear mismanagement of resources with those surveyed admitting that on a regular day their staff only use about half (47%) of their applicable qualifications.

Against the backdrop of severe skills shortage across the IT industry, these findings are particularly worrying. IT managers are clearly more concerned about the poor use of skills than the need to train employees to gain the right ones. 74% of those surveyed revealed a major frustration with the level of time dedicated to low level IT tasks which is not only de-motivating for the individuals involved but is a huge waste of skills for the business.

“The research confirms and reinforces the level to which valuable expensive skills are lying dormant” said IPsoft’s UK MD Terry Walby. “Of course a skill that isn’t regularly used is very rapidly forgotten. However, the biggest impact of this is that IT staff are not being used effectively and are missing the opportunity to drive technology innovation, which is vital in the development of most businesses.”

Worryingly, many respondents feel resigned to the fact that wastage of skills is a necessary inconvenience. Eighty-eight percent accept that to make progress in an enterprise IT environment, IT operations staff will have to perform day-to-day tasks for which they are over-qualified.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents agree that this is in part a direct result of teams having limited access to the right tools and technologies that could make them more efficient and productive. Just over two thirds (69%) feel that if their operations staff had more man hours available, they would be used to modernise their organisation’s infrastructure, which is critical to business growth.

Bob Tarzey, Service Director at analyst firm Quocirca, commented: “The new research report explores the theme the wastage of human capital in IT operations. IT managers clearly understand the wastage of skills in their organisations and the impact this has on the ability to drive change.

“To break out of what can become a viscous circle, IT managers need to automate more mundane tasks and free their staff to focus on innovation. When the tools are in place that can handle these low level tasks, and more efficient workflow, the industrialisation of IT management can be undertaken”.

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Christian Harris is editor and publisher of BCW. Christian has over 20 years' publishing experience and in that time has contributed to most major IT magazines and Web sites in the UK. He launched BCW in 2009 as he felt there was a need for honest and personal commentary on a wide range of business computing issues. Christian has a BA (Hons) in Publishing from the London College of Communication.