It’s London Tech Week! Over five days, more than 30,000 people will attend online and in-person events, including workshops and debates, to discuss how tech can unlock opportunity and transform our shared future. On the back of my involvement, here’s my view as a vendor for managed service providers (MSP).
Whilst AI is this week’s hot topic, I love seeing the human touch brought by the MSP community, with the innovation and fresh ideas energising the entire tech ecosystem. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the MSP community has become such a critical element of what we all do daily, in businesses, our personal lives and, of course, our wider communities.
But with us supporting so many, the demand for top technical talent and unique skills has never been higher. Many MSPs face significant challenges in attracting and retaining IT professionals with the specific expertise needed to deliver the high-quality service many end-users have come to expect (and deserve) from MSPs.
Gartner’s research suggests that COVID-19 accelerated the pace of client digital transformation by at least five years. This rapid shift has created a greater need for MSPs to access specialised tech talent to navigate, support and enhance complex client IT infrastructures. But talent scarcity is a huge hurdle; the message from Korn Ferry predicts that the tech talent shortage will exceed 85 million workers by 2030.
I’ve lost count of discussions with MSP owners, founders and CEOs who said filling IT positions has been their greatest challenge over the last two years. They tend to express their frustration that they can’t find the local staff and then struggle to retain the engineers once recruited. Then, left angry at leaving money on the table when they couldn’t meet their clients’ growing demands and expand their service offerings.
Another critical factor mentioned is the dizzying pace of technological innovation. Tools, software, and programming languages constantly evolve, requiring IT professionals to continuously upskill. It is challenging for MSP leaders to find candidates with the latest skill set and expertise to provide cutting-edge services, unlike an outsourcer’s broader talent pool and reach.
The simple cost of hiring and retaining tech talent is another significant challenge for MSPs. The demand for highly skilled and experienced professionals drives up North American, European and Asian compensation expectations. In this environment, MSP leaders tell me they are on a treadmill to offer competitive salary packages, including perks and benefits, to remain attractive in the job market.
At Inbay, we have long recognised that to attract and retain dedicated top talent, we must invest in professional development opportunities and training programs for our colleagues to keep them cutting-edge. By offering avenues for skill enhancement, sponsoring certifications and keeping up with industry trends, we position ourselves as attractive local employers and ensure our colleagues are equipped to meet the needs of our MSP partners. Often, such training costs are prohibitive for small or mid-sized MSPs.
Cultural alignment between our colleagues and MSPs is also crucial. Tech job seekers in North America, the UK, Australia or Europe place massive importance on workplace culture when considering job opportunities. Similarly, we actively showcase our positive work environment, emphasising collaboration, innovation, and a robust MSP customer-centric approach. When using us, MSPs can attract remote candidates they know will align with their core values and contribute to a thriving team dynamic.
Additionally, providing career growth and advancement opportunities is crucial to retaining talent and avoiding the costs associated with turnover. Finally, some MSP leaders have geographical limitations that constrain their ability to build their tech workforce.
While MSPs have traditionally relied on local talent and have been exposed to spiralling local compensation, the rise of remote work has opened new possibilities for outsourcing. The MSPs I work with are increasingly seeking remote workers, presenting an opportunity to tap into a broader talent pool and accessing dedicated IT professionals who may not be available locally, expanding their talent options and enhancing their service capabilities.
To succeed, MSPs must:
- Proactively address the scarcity of talent
- Stay ahead of technological advancements
- Foster a positive work culture
- Offer competitive compensation packages
- Embrace remote work options
All to build a skilled and agile workforce. By leveraging these strategies, leaders can overcome the hiring challenge and continue to deliver exceptional services to their clients.
If you face any of the above challenges, don’t hesitate to contact me or any of my Inbay colleagues. We’re happy to share what we have done to help literally hundreds of MSPs and pave the way for their future sustainable growth.