Mainframe Skills Gap: Fact or Fiction

If you are wondering if there will really be a mainframe skills gap - unfortunately there will be and here are why you need to pay attention and have a plan in place for your organization. Let's start with the fact that babyboomers are retiring. The youngest babyboomer, born in 1964, is now 52 year old and when coupled with years of service their retirement date could be well before sixty-five.

According to Compuware, a supplier of mainframe applications, 40% of Mainframe IT staff are 50 years of age and due to retire within five to seven years.

Coupled with this unprecidented number of people leaving the workforce are a number of compounding factors:

  • Mainframes systems applications built in the 60's, 70's and 80's are frequently undocumented..

  • The mainframe staff nearing retirement will be taking their systems knowledge and expertise with them!

  • Schools are no longer teaching the skills required to run the mainframe systems resulting in fewer qualified candidates entering the workforce.

  • Fewer young people are choosing to go into ICT careers and those that do are not drawn to work in the mainframe space - prefering to focus on jobs in mobile, cloud and networking.

To summarize this combination of events is a 'Perfect Storm' and if you are a CEO, CIO, CTO, CFO or Director of Mainframe Computing you are in the center of the vortex! Undocumented complex systems; a shortage of ICT skills to support these legacy systems; declining system knowledge due to retirement of the experienced workforce and no pool or trained staff coming out of school because there are few schools teaching these skills.

But isn't the mainframe going away? The fact is that while there has been a lot of press about the demise of the mainframe it hasn't happened and is unlikely to happen in the near term. Mainframes are still used at:

  • 71 percent of global Fortune 500 companies

  • 96 of the worlds top 100 banks

  • 23 of the top 25 US retailers

  • 9 out of 10 of the world's largest insurance companies

  • 9 out of 10 global life and health insurance providers

  • and

  • 30 billion transactions are processed each day on the mainframe - including 'most major credit card transactions, stock trades, money transfers and ATM transactions ...

If you don't have a Talent Plan in place to address the skills gap contact LegacyNEXT Strategies to discuss your options. We have researched the problem and with our five step framework we can fast track the development of your plan so that you reduce the RISK to your organization and can sleep at night.

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