States continue to experience a shrinking information technology (IT) workforce, according to a new survey released Wednesday by the Lexington, Ky.-based National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO). NASCIO's "State IT Workforce: Under Pressure — A National Survey of the States" found that the current IT workforce is aging and facing retirement, but hiring freezes have left a dearth of new technicians to take the reigns.
"Retirements from an aging state IT workforce have been a looming issue for the majority of the states, and a comparison of NASCIO's September 2007 [survey] findings and our current survey highlights that the recession has only delayed this inevitable tsunami of turnover," NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson said in a statement. Chad Grant, NASCIO policy analyst and author of the study, said states will have a hard time hiring enough new IT employees. "The inevitable wave of baby boomers that will leave the state workforce in the next five years has only compounded the challenges that exist for recruitment and retention of highly qualified IT personnel," Robinson said in a statement.
The key points of the State IT Workforce survey include:
- Hiring freezes and elimination of vacant positions continue to be the greatest challenge for state CIOs when developing, supporting and maintaining IT services for state government.
- Nearly two-thirds of respondents said that they anticipate having to reduce IT staff.
- Nearly one-quarter of state CIOs predict that between 21 percent and 30 percent of state IT employees will be eligible for retirement within the next five years.
- A majority of the state CIOs reported that the recession has caused many state workers to postpone retirement.
- Slightly more than half of the states continue to have difficulty recruiting new employees to fill vacant IT positions, but data suggests the continuing high rate has reduced the burden for filling entry-level positions.
- 78.6 percent of state CIOs confirmed that state salary rates and pay grade structures present a challenge in attracting and retaining skilled IT talent.
Download NASCIO's "State IT Workforce" survey.