How IT Staffing Shortages Affect Different Industries

May 04, 2017 by Alex Collins, IT Services Consultant

Giant pandas. Mountain gorillas. IT workers.

Judging from their dwindling numbers in the wild, it may be time to put the information technology worker on the endangered species list. Employers around the world concur: a 2016 study by the Manpower Group found that 40 percent of respondents around the world report difficulty filling jobs, with IT workers being the second-hardest job role to fill.

24 percent of respondents blamed the lack of available applicants for the shortfall, with lack of technical competency coming next at 19 percent.

The problem is only expected to worsen in the next few years; predicts that by 2020, only 400,000 computer-science grads will be available to take up about 14 million computing jobs.

Law Firms: Cybersecurity's Soft Underbelly

The shortfall is felt differently – but no less acutely – in varied industries across the world.

Let's start with the legal industry. A reported shortfall of cybersecurity specialists has started to hit home for law firms, as high-profile hacking cases cast a harsh spotlight on the legal industry's vulnerabilities. According to a 2016 study by Logikcull/IBM, the cost of the average cybersecurity breach has increased to $4.3 million from $3.8 million.

And yet the legal industry as a whole has failed to adequately prepare for the challenge –  ALM Legal Intelligence reports that only half of law firms they've interviewed have a cybersecurity team on standby, and 22 percent completely lack a data breach plan for when the worst happens.

No wonder that the U.S. government warned that New York City's top 200 law firms represent a “soft underbelly” for hackers. “Law firms are great targets,” warns Professor Daniel J. Solove, John Marshall Harlan Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School and founder of privacy/data security training company TeachPrivacy.

“[They] have information that could be deeply embarrassing to clients, as well as an array of data that could be used for corporate espionage, or for gaining secret insights into litigation and deals that can be used to buy and sell securities,” Solove concludes.

Healthcare: Knock-On Effects

Not all hiring issues are cybersecurity-related. Over in the healthcare field – as if they didn't have enough technology-related problems to untangle (privacy/HIPAA issues and telemedicine each could eat up a whole IT team's workload) – a shortage of health IT staff is causing a few knock-on effects downstream.

The hiring shortfall has complicated every other IT-related issue; a 2014 survey by the Health Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) reports that up to a third of healthcare managers had to scale back their work due to shortfalls in staffing, causing complications in managing healthcare data and HIPAA compliance, among other major issues.

The problem is that healthcare tends to hire from a small and shrinking pool of experts. Employers at healthcare firms prefer hiring health IT staff with CVs showing long experience in the healthcare field; Ernie Hood, a senior research director for the Advisory Board Co., notes that not even IT experience in other fields matters to healthcare HR. "It doesn't substitute for the actual field experience working in healthcare," he says.

Help Desk Services That Evolve With You

In-house training may go some way in addressing the hiring crunch, but no training program can qualify nurses or attorneys to handle a cybersecurity breach or connect the enterprise to the cloud. Some other, savvier HR professionals leapfrog the hiring issue altogether by outsourcing parts of their IT infrastructure to external providers.

Services like the All Covered Enterprise Help Desk support growing companies with IT support that evolves with the company's needs – skipping the vagaries of hiring and training new IT staff, by plugging in a highly-trained IT workforce that can provide friendly, efficient support with stellar resolution times.

All Covered performs an in-depth discovery and documentation process for every Enterprise Help Desk client, allowing staff to understand how their clients' businesses operate in-depth, ensuring rapid and accurate resolutions each time.

This is a great comfort for HR departments looking for those missing IT professionals – who weren't missing at all; people were just looking in the wrong place!

For more information on All Covered Enterprise Help Desk and other services, contact All Covered Toll-Free Nationwide at 866-446-1133 or visit