The world is in the midst of a “Great Reshuffle” of talent, as job transitions globally are up 28 percent over the last few months in 2021. One area where this shifting of talent is especially high is among tech professionals, with more than nine in ten executives in technology seeing higher-than-usual attrition in their ranks. Turnover of information technology (IT) staff is becoming more common and increasingly devastating to organizations – especially higher ed institutions – as tech needs evolve and expand. As colleges’ dependency on technology grows and recruiting, hiring, training and retaining IT talent gets harder by the day, it’s important to consider the risks of not addressing turnover, as well as solutions for it. In part two of our three-part series exploring IT staff turnover, we’ll discuss the debilitating affects it can have on your institution.

Globally, job transitions are up
in 2021*

5 Institutional Consequences of High IT Staff Turnover

In the past, IT departments were often viewed as cost centers that could be cut and trimmed to save money. This is no longer the case.

Technology is embedded in every facet of the student journey. It’s changing how students learn, faculty teach and higher ed institutions operate. IT departments now play key roles in the current and future success of their institutions. If institutions don’t address IT staff attrition and retention, they risk the following consequences.

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1. Inability to Digitally Transform

If college and university IT departments are short staffed, overworked and lack the appropriate skillsets due to turnover, they will have very little capacity to make improvements. Minor improvements will be difficult to implement, much less undertaking the more significant, transformational benefits that can generate revenue and enable innovations that better serve students and streamline operations.

2. Increased Costs

Consistent turnover exacerbates the high costs of hiring. It takes approximately 44 days on average, and a significant amount of money, to fill IT vacancies. This cost grows exponentially when schools find themselves replacing that same talent should they choose to leave in a year or two. Not to mention the debilitating impact on project completions and daily operations when staff put in their two-weeks’ notice in the middle of the semester.

3. Lack of Security

If software and operating systems are left unpatched, unsupported and unmonitored, schools will be even more vulnerable to cyberattacks.

4. Less Experienced Talent

High turnover often puts hiring managers into the unenviable position of having to settle for less-qualified talent to quickly fill open positions.

5. Unreliable Operations

If the complex systems needed to run an institution today are left insufficiently maintained and students are left unsupported from a tech standpoint, daily operations can come to a halt.

What Are Solutions to Higher Ed’s IT Turnover Problem?

These problems can quickly snowball. When one person leaves, another person must pick up the slack. This creates additional stress and frustration for that person, increasing the likelihood that they will also leave. Thus, repeating and accelerating the troubling cycle. So, what are you to do to stop the bleeding and solve this problem?

Author: Elise Povejsil

Elise Povejsil is a former marketing manager (content and communications) for Collegis Education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Studies from DePauw University.