Top-tier IT talent doesn't stick around in 'mid-market' organizations

Though that might be the least of their worries, according to this report

Despite the specter of IT layoffs, top talent has no difficulty switching employers, according to new research by integrator Advania.

The study surfaces a couple of key findings. First, only two percent of mid-market organizations can hold onto IT staff they rate as "excellent" for two or more years, and second, AI is something that many feel is out of reach, or not worth the bother.

The study defines a "mid-market" organization as one that lacks the budget of an enterprise but still requires enterprise-level tools and technologies. The 966 mid-market IT decision makers that participated in the survey were spread across the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Iceland. More than half of the organizations involved had revenues between £50 million and £500 million ($64 million to $640 million).

The two percent stat is an indicator of problems. However, there is a wider set of mistaken assumptions. For example, almost half (43 per cent) of respondents thought that cloud providers would cover their data recovery costs, while 40 per cent reckoned that those same providers should refund the cost of stolen computing resources. Only 3 percent of respondents understood that a cloud provider is not liable for an organization's cybersecurity incidents.

The talent turnover is, therefore, a significant issue. As well as the two percent hanging on to "excellent" IT staff, more than a quarter (28 percent) could only keep staff between one and six months, while one in ten confessed to having never managed to employ top-tier IT professionals.

There are many reasons why this should be, although the assumptions described above certainly play a part, as do a lack of budget and insufficiently resourced IT departments. Astonishingly, two percent of respondents admitted to having no security posture at all. The report noted: "They are in imminent danger. They just don't know it yet."

Another factor keeping top talent away is confusion over new technology and a lack of resource to implement it. For example, 81 per cent of mid-market organizations are currently avoiding AI – many don't see it as being able to improve productivity – and yet a third reckon their tech isn't future-proof because of a lack of AI knowledge.

Some mid-market organizations therefore recognize the importance of a coherent IT strategy, but don't know how to implement it, and lack the resources to do so.

The lesson is stark. Top-tier IT staff do not need to hang around and there still some fundamental misunderstandings within organizations around their cybersecurity posture (or lack thereof). If organizations want to deal with issues in-house, they need to budget accordingly. Or grit their teeth and outsource. ®

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