What Do Employers Do,Train Or Re-Hire Essay, Research Paper
Media Issue Analysis
Over the past ten to twenty years, technology has improved dramatically. With these vast improvements in technology, there has become a greater emphasis on technology skills by employers when looking to fill their vacancies, as these skills generally are vital in any industry. To obtain these skills, most students are now staying at school longer to obtain their VCE (or equivalent qualification), as this is a minimum requirement for the majority of jobs. Furthermore, greater numbers are then gaining tertiary qualifications to enhance their skills, and ultimately, their job prospects. This shift in qualifications has revolutionised the way schools and universities are teaching their students, with a major focus being Information Technology (IT) skills, and how they are necessary in most industries. However this raises the question as to what employers are to do with their current staff. Retrain them or just simply hire new staff already equipped with the necessary skills?
1999 Telstra Business Woman of the Year, Sheryle Moon, has recently criticised Australia’s level of IT skills. She stated that “companies need to train unskilled workers themselves rather than wait for university graduates to filter into the workplace” (Warning on IT skills crisis, Herald-Sun August 10th, 1999), otherwise we face an IT skills shortage. Ms Moon said the demand far outweighed supply and that IT was “no longer something that affects just a few people, it affects every single one of us”. Furthermore, she likened the current crisis to that of the 1950’s Snowy Mountain Scheme, where new immigrants solved the labour shortage. However this would not work this time, as the rest of the world also faces a similar problem to Australia.
So how can companies make up for this shortage in IT skilled workers? One possible solution suggested by Ms Moon was that companies could train their current employees, rather than wait for the influx of university graduates. This could possibly be the best solution as it means the current workers would become better skilled and qualified. However this would be a very costly exercise for the companies, as they would have to consume their resources to get their staff trained, and this would result in a temporary shortage of staff within the company as they undergo their training. To avoid the training program consuming the company’s resources, the company could outsource the training to a company which specifically deals with training people in information technology. This too would come at a high price to the company, but would probably be more cost effective than training the staff themselves.
This sort of outsourcing is now possible due to companies such as MVS Australia, a company recently created by former Victorian auditor-general, Ches Baragwanath. According to Mr Baragwanath, the company was setup to be “an intermediary between an organisation and the whole recruitment market” (Baragwanath plays musical Ches, Age August 10th, 1999). The concept was developed when it become clear that there was a need for companies to update the IT skills of employees in larger organisations. Mr Baragwanath also commented that once his company had updated the IT skills of the company’s employees, it was very important that the companies then put in place a continuos training program to make sure their employees were always abreast with the necessary IT skills. This would ensure a repeat of the current shortage wouldn’t occur again in the future.
Some companies however are hiring IT specialists rather than train their current employees, further draining the pool of IT skilled workers. One particular example is KPMG, who have recently hired 4000 IT professionals to enhance their technological service to their clients (KPMG in $1.6b online push, Age August 10th, 1999). The Chairman of KPMG Australia, Mr David Crawford described the move as a “significant development” and “fundamental to the business”. This decision by KPMG, to hire more staff instead of retraining their current employees, was influenced by the fact that in a recent survey it was found that “most employers expect staff to stay on board a mere three to five years” (Workers on the move, Herald-Sun August 10th, 1999). As the costs of retraining are so high, companies such as KPMG believe they will not see the benefits of their retraining if those employees were not there for the long-term, and this therefore sways the decision towards hiring IT skilled staff.
The decision to hire new staff has a great impact on those already employed by the company. The companies are then effectively shortening the working lifespan of these staff who have been with the company for a number of years. Without the latest training, these employees will fall behind, as technology will no doubt increase dramatically as we head into the 21st century. There is therefore a need to keep staff up-to-date, but also the willingness from staff to change. Technology has had a tremendous impact on various industries, particularly the accounting and manufacturing industries. In the accounting industry, work that used to take days to complete manually can now be done almost instantaneously on the computer. This has led to greater productivity and efficiency, and with better technology in the future, it will only continue to improve.
Although new and highly skilled IT workers will be required in the future to supplement the existing employees, it is in our opinion that company’s must utilise their number one resource, their employees. They can achieve this by having their employees undergo continuos training programs, so that they are abreast of the latest technology, and can perform their tasks at the higher levels of productivity and efficiency now required of them.