How MSPs can avoid their own imminent skills shortage

It’s no secret that the international cybersecurity industry is facing a major skills shortage. According to the latest data, the workforce needs to grow by 145% to meet demands. Unfortunately, that supply isn’t forthcoming. In the UK, the number of young people taking IT subjects at secondary school has dropped 40% since 2015. Furthermore, education programs across the globe are struggling to provide sufficient training in necessary STEM skills which means many organisations expect far more from their entry level talent than they are trained and capable of delivering. 

 

So when your entire workforce comprises tech specialists, as is the case for MSPs, what do you do to protect your business against the imminent threat of a skills shortage? You take action now.

 

Here are our recommendations to fix an MSP skills shortage: 

Training and upskilling

Starting with the most obvious solution, if you require specialist skills and can’t find an external candidate to provide them, why not help an existing employee fit the bill by giving them the necessary training? Considered a perk by your employees, training can be great for ensuring your business has the specific skills it needs at any one point, whether it be to optimise use of a particular program, deliver a better service to a client or overcome an issue. 

 

From online to face-to-face, and from third party delivery to internal mentoring and shadowing, there’s no end to the options for providing your workforce with the skills you need to keep your business fulfilling its commitments to customers.

 

Show your employees what their future at your company looks like

If you want to retain all of your current team and attract new talent too, then you have to show them that they have a place long term. That means building a package that isn’t just based on starting salary and immediate benefits, but also personal development, progression planning and more. 

 

Research shows that 59% of millennials feel progression opportunities are extremely important when applying for a job and 76% of workers will seek other job opportunities if they feel there’s no chance of a promotion in the future. 

 

Performance management in cybersecurity is notoriously difficult but we’ve devised a guide on how to get it right and build an effective progression plan too.

 

Make work more interesting

You may be thinking, how do I do this one? We’re an MSP! Well, you’ll be surprised to hear that there is a simple way to make every member of your business a lot happier in their role. The secret – cut out the admin. 

 

Doctors, police officers, marketers and tech specialists all have something in common: they’ve been hired to a highly-skilled job but they only spend a fraction of their time doing it. This is because the majority of their time is taken up with frustratingly dull and time-consuming administrative tasks. Take steps to cut that down through automation, hiring administrative staff or by streamlining your reporting, and your workforce will thank you.

 

One example of painful admin that your staff are likely to be wasting hundreds of hours on is vulnerability prioritisation. With multiple clients to support, your team could have hundreds if not thousands of vulnerabilities to sort and this can all be done automatically via RankedRight. Simply set rules for how different vulnerabilities should be prioritised and dealt with and let the platform do the work for you. This will give your team the time back to add greater value in other areas by doing the job they want to do. 

 

(And if this isn’t a service your business is currently offering clients, why not partner with RankedRight and make it one to generate an additional revenue stream?)

 

Look after your team’s wellbeing

We’ve already discussed how the provision of benefits and progression planning can help employee retention but another factor to be aware of is employee wellbeing. The cybersecurity industry is extremely high pressured and 65% of IT and security professionals have admitted they have considered quitting their job due to burnout.

 

The consequences of tired, unwell staff can be incredibly damaging so it’s important that you ensure that your workforce is taking care of themselves, not working excessively long hours and does not feel overwhelmed by the pressure of their job. We’ve pulled together some steps you can follow to support your employees’ wellbeing.

 

Understand where your business is going next and define the skills you’ll need

Our final piece of advice for avoiding a skills shortage within your business is to define the skills you need. This sounds obvious but if you are looking to pivot your business services in order to differentiate yourselves from your MSP competitors, then it would be wise to map out exactly what skills you think your business needs one month, six months and even a year from now. This will keep you one step ahead in your training and recruitment and can hopefully keep a skills shortage within your MSP at bay.

 

We’d love to talk to you about how we can help you grow your business through automation. Less admin means more action.