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Wednesday, 05 July 2006 18:58

Recruitment struggle and email waste challenge businesses

The third edition of the annual report “Getting a Grip on IT”, jointly published by Unisys and the Sydney Chamber of Commerce, shows an increasing trend to outsource IT work that mirrors the struggle NSW businesses face to recruit IT workers. Also concerning is the trend for email to decrease rather than increase productivity.

According to the research, one in three NSW businesses struggle to recruit IT personnel, and outsourcing IT work has increased significantly over the past year.

This year’s survey indicates that over half of respondents outsource their IT work, as compared with one in three in 2005. “Outsourcing allows a business to contract experts to do the job,” said Steve Parker, managing director, Unisys Australia-New Zealand. “It’s interesting to see that small and medium organisations are also turning to outsourcing, previously the domain of larger companies.”

Telecommuting has also increased, yet businesses do not seem to be spending adequately to ensure the secure use of mobile devices which enable this upward trend in telecommuting.

Other findings include the continuing rise in the trend, first identified last year, for employees to work away from the office via telecommuting and mobile devices. Yet many employees are becoming ‘slaves’ to their inbox.  More than half of those surveyed indicating concern for email volumes

Sydney Chamber CEO, Margy Osmond said that far from saving time, in many cases emails had begun to consume valuable working time.

“Some businesses are now trying to tackle email overload and coming up with policies specifically designed to reduce message volume. We found that 64% of businesses have a policy regarding email and internet use. However, one-third does not,” she said.

Summary of findings from Getting a Grip on IT, 2006:

Telecommuting is becoming more popular. Almost two-thirds of the businesses surveyed have employees who telecommute occasionally or regularly – a 36% increase on last year’s results and a 60% increase on the 2004 results.
The practice of contacting employees while they are off duty or on annual leave is increasing.
About a third of businesses are having difficulty finding skilled IT workers.

Outsourcing of IT work is becoming more prevalent. Last year, just over a third of respondents said their employees did basic IT work with the rest being outsourced but this year, the figure has risen to 53%.
Offshoring is rare among the businesses surveyed with 90% saying their business is not involved in this practice.
The volume of emails employees have to deal with every day and the resultant effect on productivity is a major concern for business.
Most businesses have employees who spend time outside normal working hours sending and replying to emails.

While spending on IT has continued to increase dramatically and nine out of ten respondents registered concern about internet and IT security, investments on internet and IT security were low. One in four businesses estimated they have spent less than a thousand dollars in security in the past year.

“Even in light of this overall increase in IT investment, businesses do not seem to be spending adequately on security,” said Mr Parker. “It is incumbent on business and government to ensure secure solutions and services.”

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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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