IT Automation: The Key To Retaining Top Talent?

6 min read

By Michael Rhodes

Division Manager - Technology

It’s no secret that the IT industry suffers from a major talent shortage. With a limited number of high-level candidates in the field and a lack of entrants coming in, staff turnover is at an all-time high, making the retention of IT staff a widespread effort.

Yet companies industry-wide are struggling to hold on to their best talent. Why? Because high calibre, technical talent is – more often than not – wasted on menial, manual IT jobs.

The solution?

Automation.

Why Companies Are Losing Their IT Staff

According to research by ServiceNow, 91% of people in the IT industry agree that skilled employees spend too much time on administrative tasks. On average, IT executives currently spend 16 hours a week on manual administrative tasks, equalling 2 whole days. 

New technology is rapidly accelerating the pace of IT work – and the volume of it too. But when work is manual, there is a limit to how much work employees can deliver. Without fundamental change, the current pace of work is not sustainable.

Add to that the industry’s talent shortage - making hiring more staff near impossible - automation is the necessary solution required to prevent businesses falling behind.

Is Automation Really A Bad Thing? Perception vs Reality

Almost every article on the topic warns that automation will lead to mass job loss. So much so that 87% expressed concern that automation would eliminate their jobs entirely in a recent ServiceNow survey.

But is automation really so damning?

Automation, simply put, takes care of repeatable instructions and processes on its own, replacing the need for humans to interact with systems to do simplistic, programmable tasks. Automation helps to remove repetitive, manual processes from the hands of your teams. 

ServiceNow’s research states that highly automated companies are 6 times more likely to grow revenue over 15%. What’s more, in companies who have invested in basic automation, 84% of staff said work is completed more quickly, 81% said that it reduced costs, and 74% said that it increased the time available for strategic initiatives. According to research firm Gleanster, nearly 80% of top-performing companies have used Marketing automation for more than two years.

Automation even helps to humanise businesses. By ridding staff of the low skill tasks, teams can work collaboratively on high priority, strategic projects, building strong workplace relationships in the process.

How IT Automation Can Help Retain Talent

The benefits of IT automation are manifold, yet businesses fail to see past the threat of mass redundancy.

IT automation can integrate with - and apply to - anything from network automation, infrastructure and cloud provisioning to application deployment and configuration management.  IT automation will therefore improve life for employees dramatically; with low-skill manual tasks being automated, high skill employees are free to get their teeth stuck into real, strategic goals and duties.

By extension, employee retention is guaranteed to improve; staff can further their own personal development in their roles. In fact, Gartner estimates that businesses failing to incorporate IT automation into their roadmap will experience a 25% drop in retention in 2019.

Conclusion

IT automation has become more than a trend; due to the shortage of staff – and the speed at which organisations now work – IT automation it has turned into a necessity.

IT’s talent shortage isn’t going anywhere, and won’t for at least another 10-15 years. Skills shortages have no immediate solution; it’s only recently that schools and colleges have started pushing schemes and courses to encourage more entrants into this field and these people will take a number of years to enter the workforce. Since increased hiring isn’t an option, automation stands as the most viable solution for businesses suffering from an IT talent shortage.

Alongside executive searches, CSG Talent advise companies on the best hiring and retention strategies to ensure business growth and profit long-term. We find top tier talent across the IT industry, with a focus on Software Development, Testing, DevOps, Data Analytics, Infrastructure, Security, Business Analysis and Project Management.

 

References

ServiceNow, Today’s State of Work: At the Breaking Point, 2017

Red Hat, What is IT Automation?

The Enterpriser’s Project, Automation: The IT Leader’s Guide

InfoWorld, What, why, and when do we automate?, 24.01.18

InfusionSoft, 25 Things Every Small Business Should Automate

The Guardian, Robots will not lead to fewer jobs – but the hollowing out of the middle class, 20.08.17