V-Soft's Corporate Headquarters

101 Bullitt Lane, Suite #205
Louisville, KY 40222

TOLL FREE: 844.425.8425
FAX: 502.412.5869

Denver, Colorado

6400 South Fiddlers Green Circle Suite #1150
Greenwood Village, CO 80111

TOLL FREE: 844.425.8425

Chicago, Illinois

208 N. Green Street, #302, Chicago, IL 60607

TOLL FREE: 844.425.8425

Madison, Wisconsin

2810 Crossroads Drive, Ste. 4000
Madison, WI 53718

TOLL FREE: 844.425.8425

Atlanta, Georgia

1255 Peachtree Parkway Suite #4201
Cumming, GA 30041

TOLL FREE: 844.425.8425

Cincinnati, Ohio

Spectrum Office Tower 11260
Chester Road Suite 350
Cincinnati, OH 45246

Phone: 513.771.0050

Raritan, New Jersey

216 Route 206 Suite 22 Hillsborough Raritan, NJ 08844

Phone: 513.771.0050

Toronto, Canada

1 St. Clair Ave W Suite #902, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1K6

Phone: 416.663.0900

Hyderabad, India

Incor 9, 3rd Floor, Kavuri Hills
Madhapur, Hyderabad – 500033 India

PHONE: 040-48482789

Noida, India

H-110 - Sector 63 ,
NOIDA , Gautham Budh Nagar ,
UP – 201301

IT Staffing in Higher Education: Why Outsourcing is Necessary?

Institutions today are facing budget pressures, technology changes, expectations to keep tuition low, and pressure to improve processes and student services. Because of these issues and other factors, higher education institutions can often struggle to find and maintain capable IT staff. Outsourcing may be the answer. In this post, I will discuss the challenges of staffing in higher education and how outsourcing can help.

Why is Higher Education Struggling?

Most higher education institutions face a continuing challenge in finding and keeping personnel to meet their information technology needs.  As HR studies indicate, higher education salaries are usually well behind the private sector and don’t offer the perks found there.

The private sector is equipped to offer IT talent higher salaries, bonuses, and stock options that are not found in higher education.  I have recently seen salaries in the private sector offering almost double what higher education can offer.  Then add on the other financial incentives and the environment is pretty glum.

higher education staffing issues

Problems in Higher Education

Higher education often relies on personnel who want the non-financial rewards of contributing to the good of society by educating students and supporting research breakthroughs.  But that is often hit-or-miss and can change dramatically as institutional personnel have life-changing events, requiring a relocation. 

Additionally, a further challenge to higher education is institutional geographic location.  Many higher education institutions are located in non-urban areas where the workforce is not oriented to technology. 

So, what does an institution do in the face of these challenges?  Staffing companies offer some very positive solutions to the problem.  But oftentimes, institutions seem reluctant to utilize “outsourcing” missing the opportunity where staffing can greatly help with meeting the challenges.

Why Should Higher Education Outsource IT?

Most often, CIOs think of staffing solutions for projects.  Obviously, the temporary need for resources for application implementation or upgrades is a natural path, which has been well accepted.  And it is a great way to obtain focused, experienced personnel without the ongoing commitment of salaries. 

Ongoing support of applications and associated infrastructure is an area in which there seems to be less activity.  But it is an area where staffing can provide what is needed when the permanent personnel solution falls short.  Staffing solutions for applications support works very well in a remote support arrangement.  It is no longer necessary for personnel to be on site continuously in order to work with institutional staff in support of the application.

Remote support for ongoing operations can be a very cost effective solution.  As long as the staffing personnel are consistent, known individuals with the communications skills needed to interact with the institutional personnel.  The latest collaboration tools make personnel interactions extremely effective, almost like being there.  And there is little than cannot be technically supported remotely.

Because of this, more and more CIOs are looking to staffing solutions for “non-traditional” areas of operations.  Infrastructure is an area where finding and retaining highly skilled personnel is becoming a greater challenge.  Staffing can provide the high-level technical skills needed while leaving institutional personnel to address the other aspects of service delivery.  Mixing of the duties across institutional personnel and staffing resources can be a very cost-effective solution.

Outsourcing Options for Higher Education

The best staffing firms carefully vet personnel to insure the right mix of technical skills, experience/knowledge and interpersonal skills.  And with a staffing solution, should there be a mismatch, replacement of personnel is taken care of by the engagement manager, relieving the institution of that burden.

The price of staffing solutions oftentimes appears to be costly and seems overwhelming.  But a well thought out solution of institutional personnel and staffing can provide great support a cost-effective model.  Understanding the service delivery model for each system and appropriately staffing (blended model), can achieve the desired results.

Thus, given the demand for technology personnel and the challenges facing higher education in finding and keeping institutional personnel, blended staffing solutions appear to be a necessity.  Whether it be on-site personnel or remote support, augmenting institutional staff appears to be the only way forward for many Higher Ed organizations.  Those who rely entirely on in-house resources will have an increasingly difficult path forward.

The Go-To IT Staffing Checklist

About the Author

George Ellis IT Consultant

George Ellis is V-Soft Consulting's Higher Education Consultant based in Orlando, Florida. George has over 25 years of experience in working in higher education, primarily working in IT.  Having worked in both higher education and the private sector, George is very well-rounded and knows the similarities and difference between each. Connect with George on LinkedIn.


Topics: Staffing, Technology, Consultants, Higher Education and IT, IT Staffing, Higher Education, Higher Education Staffing

Get tech and IT industry Updates

The Go-To IT Staffing Checklist