NASCIO: States face IT retirement crunch

More than a quarter of state information technology employees could retire within the next five years, but most states lack a plan to address a potential labor shortage.

Those were among the findings of a new report from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers. “State IT Workforce: Here Today Gone Tomorrow?” pegs the portion of state IT workers eligible for retirement at 27 percent. That estimate is based on an averaging of responses to NASCIO’s Web-based survey of states. Forty-six states participated in the survey.

“A large number of senior state IT employees are becoming eligible for retirement and states are wary, at best, of their ability to fill their shoes,” the report states.

Despite the potential labor shortfall, more than 65 percent of the survey respondents said their states lacked a contingency plan to deal with numerous job vacancies. Of those states with a plan, many said workforce initiatives have yet to be fully implemented, according to NASCIO.

Against the backdrop of expected retirements, states already view recruiting workers as a challenge. A little more than 80 percent of the respondents reported difficulty recruiting new employees to fill vacant IT positions. Skills presenting the greatest challenge in attracting IT talent include project management, security, architecture, mainframe support, and application development and support, the report states.

If a staffing shortfall does materialize, outsourcing does not appear to be the labor option of choice in most states. Indeed, 59 percent of the NASCIO survey respondents said outsourcing will “play a very little part” in their strategies.

Alternatives to outsourcing cited by survey respondents included the rehiring of former employees to perform certain tasks on a contractual basis.

About the Author

John Moore is a freelance writer based in Syracuse, N.Y.

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