In the next 10 to 15 years, a huge amount of IT professionals will be retiring.  This isn’t in just one city or in one company, but all over the US.  They say as many as 30% of the IT workforce may retire within the next decade.  The problem?  There aren’t enough qualified IT personnel to fill these positions, at least not at this rate.  Spreading your workforce even thinner can be dangerous move for companies that have already done layoffs due to lower profits.  Adding duties to already overworked employees will only cause poor quality work and low morale, so what can we do to prepare?

Invest in Communications

As you start losing personnel and have to struggle to get things done, communication is going to be a key element to success.  As your staff will be carrying the weight of others until you can find a replacement for your retirees, make that burden as easy on them as possible.  Investing in video conferencing equipment, Bluetooth headsets, and other mobile technologies can enable your employees to work with more freedom and less stress; a great combination when in dire situations.

Encourage Schooling/Internships

Offing programs for your employees that reimburse them for going to school or training will benefit your company, especially if you are in need of specialists.  If you know your Network Admin is going to be leaving in 5 years, see if your help desk tech is interested and offer to help with school payments.  They will likely take a lower wage than someone new coming into the company, and will have more loyalty to the brand.  Also offering internships to those at the local universities is a great way to find potential candidates for future positions.  These options also make your company appear inviting for employees looking for a place to work.

Get Involved With Younger Students to Encourage IT Fields

The IT field can be scary to look at when you are young.  Many students feel it is too difficult to understand, but really have never tried.  Participating at career fairs and other community events can help get younger students interested in the IT field, and increase enrollments in school. Donations off old equipment to local schools can also help kids get hands on experience with computers.

With the woes that have been in the news of lost jobs and unemployment, it’s hard to imagine any job having “too few” personnel, but it’s true.  In Massachusetts alone, 40% of the 1600 person government workforce will retire in the next five to ten years.  So it might be time to start investing in your IT staff, the stigma of “they are lucky to have any job at all” is about to go away.