Organizations Need to Address the Mainframe Skill Gap

Organizations Need to Address the Mainframe Skill Gap-01

Bridging the IT skills gap has become extremely difficult for organizations in today’s competitive marketplace. Therefore, organizations need to be flexible with candidates and offer them non-traditional opportunities to close the skill gap.

Even before the pandemic, organizations were struggling to find the right IT talent. In the post-pandemic world, the battle to find the right IT talent is full-on. In fact, as per a 2021 report from Skillsoft, titled “2021 IT Skills and Salary Report,” over 54% IT decision-makers admitted that they fail to fill many of their open positions. Additionally, over a third of IT decision-makers have at least three IT positions open in their organization.

These findings, along with the wave of great resignation and a strong job market, highlight the current challenges that many enterprises face. This is also having a significant impact on the ability of an enterprise to manage core technologies such as mainframes that are vital to the technological infrastructure of every organization but do not have the same appeal as other innovative technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

Also Read: How CIOs can avoid the IT skill gap crisis

Therefore, it is crucial that organizations craft their messages to the right people and the best tools to advance the mainframe experience.

Here are three strategies that organizations can incorporate in their recruiting strategies to showcase the opportunities present in the mainframe space:

Broaden the talent pool

While searching for new talent, organizations should broaden their talent pool. Meaning, they should also consider candidates who may not meet all the requirements but have the right experience and showcase the potential to succeed in the position. If given the proper support, these candidates can flourish and bring immense value to the organization. 

Another approach to expand the candidate pool is recruiting people who are changing career paths or the industries altogether. If the candidates are an excellent cultural fit, organizations should seek them to re- and up-skill them.

Last but not least, organizations should start offering an apprenticeship program that helps organizations build employee expertise from scratch by providing relevant training. If the candidates show potential, organizations can make them full-time offers.

Emphasize the gravity of mainframe

Organizations should consider educational institutions to fill the mainframe skill gap. This is not easy to accomplish as many colleges and universities do not offer mainframe programs in favor of advanced technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Therefore, IT organizations should influence these organizations to include these courses in their curriculum, such as teaching students COBOL. 

Once the students graduate with some foundational mainframe skills, organizations should craft messages that will appeal to them. They should highlight why the mainframe is an exciting technology with robust, mission-critical capabilities while simultaneously communicating opportunities for growth. 

Also Read: Addressing the Growing IT Skill Gaps that Plagues the Enterprise Landscape

Foster a flexible work environment

Mainframe leaders should be aware that today’s professionals are digital natives with high expectations for engaging with technology. Since traditional mainframe technology has poor interfaces, it may demotivate to work on this technology. Therefore organizations should modernize their tools that provide a seamless experience so that even inexperienced employees can maintain mainframe operations. 

Since an agitated employee can dearly cost an organization, it is critical that organizations tailor the workplace experience to the next generation of mainframe professionals. They should provide them with training, support, and benefits to encourage employees to stay with the organization. Additionally, they should give the flexibility that many younger professionals expect, such as working remotely or outside of 9 to 5 hours. 

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Vishal Muktewar is a Senior Correspondent at On Dot Media. He reports news that focuses on the latest trends and innovations happening in the B2B industry. An IT engineer by profession, Vishal has worked at Insights Success before joining Ondot. His love for stories has driven him to take up a career in enterprise journalism. He effectively uses his knowledge of technology and flair for writing, for crafting features, articles and interactions for technology enterprise media platforms.