Ratio of IT Support Staff to Employees Falls Short of Ideal, Survey Shows

Aug 29, 2007

MENLO PARK, CA -- Employees accustomed to waiting for help troubleshooting a PC, accessing company network folders or checking e-mail won’t be surprised to hear that the technical support function of many businesses is understaffed.  In a new survey, chief information officers (CIOs) polled said their companies’ technical support teams are, on average, 40 percent smaller than they optimally should be.

The national poll includes interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees.  It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology, a leading provider of information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis.

CIOs were asked, “What is the ratio of internal end-users to technical support employees at your company?”  The mean response was 136:1.

CIOs also were asked, “What would be the ideal ratio of internal end-users to technical support employees at your company?”  The mean response was 82:1.

Survey results also indicated that CIOs from the largest companies (greater than 1,000 employees) were closest to their ideal level of technical support, with a ratio of end-users to IT staff of 118:1 versus an ideal of 82:1.  Farthest from their ideal were CIOs from midsize firms (250-499 employees), who said that their ratio of end-users to IT support staff is 131:1, when in a perfect world it would be 64:1.

“Many managers, particularly those with organizations experiencing growth, are realizing their technical support or help desk teams can no longer keep up with increasing end-user needs,” said Katherine Spencer Lee, executive director of Robert Half Technology.  “An understaffed technical support function can lead to a frustrated and less productive workforce, which ultimately affects the company’s bottom line.”

Lee noted that organizations with ongoing, proactive information technology recruiting strategies are in the best position to provide staff the resources they need to succeed.  “It is particularly difficult to find skilled technical support professionals in the current competitive hiring environment.  Employers are now using multiple recruiting tactics, including placing want ads in a variety of places, networking and enlisting the help of a specialized staffing firm to help ensure a consistent pipeline of talent.”

With more than 100 locations in North America, Europe and Asia, Robert Half Technology is a leading provider of technology professionals for initiatives ranging from web development and multiplatform systems integration to network security and technical support.  Robert Half Technology offers online job search services at www.rht.com.

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