Almost every developed country has its own version of a Skills Shortage Program that highlights job sectors with shortages of professionals or professionals-in-training. Seldom is the Information Technology category sparsely populated with job categories in these programs. Both in South Africa and abroad, there seems to be a disparity between the need for, and supply of trained, experienced and expert networking and other IT professionals that are so crucial to the long term growth of almost every country’s economy. The NOC engineer is one such profession that companies are playing a tug of war over to retain the best of their best.

It is crucial for companies to hire, train and retain best of breed networking professionals in a business world so heavily reliant on skilled IT professionals. We’ll take a look at how organisations can cultivate their most promising staff and ways to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of skilled Network Operations Centre (NOC) engineers.

Invest in training your NOC engineers. 

Training is key to ensuring that IT staff are capable of managing new technologies that seem to surface almost daily. IT professionals usually seek to improve their skillset rather aggressively and view training as a serious incentive to work for an organisation. Investing in your brightest sparks will sculpt promising support staff into skilled NOC engineers. Incorporating training that develops staff and places them on a path to reach their long-term career ambition can also promote greater job satisfaction, resulting in employees investing years in your organisation. A happy and valued employee is likely to remain with your company and become an invaluable asset to you and your team.

Your NOC engineers are your assets. Make sure you retain them.

Companies very often lose their brightest engineers due to lucrative offers made by competition, and take with them a wealth of knowledge and expertise that would be very difficult for organisations to substitute. Management should actively seek to identify the causes of high staff turnaround and plug the problem at its root. Large staff compliments can be difficult to manage, leaving organisations struggling to remain in touch with their staff’s individual needs.

If there is a need to re-evaluate your staff performance and incentive structure, get upper management and human resources involved and find new ways of getting the conversation going with employees around job satisfaction issues. Very often employees seek new employment opportunities regardless of remuneration, but because of inadequate communication, management and other HR related issues that may otherwise have been addressed.

Learn to compete on a global scale.

With countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK aggressively pursuing the best NOC engineers and other IT professionals to make up for their projected shortages, South African companies would do well to take heed. Local skill is highly regarded in the developed world and South Africa can ill-afford to lose its dwindling skilled IT professionals. With businesses increasingly defined by their understanding of, and ability to leverage technology, the skilled IT professional is an asset that will increase in value.

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