IT Workforce Assessment Conducted for New York State Government

Recommendations will bolster state IT workforce recruitment and training

by / December 12, 2006
New York State Chief Information Officer Michael R. Mittleman today announced recommendations that would bolster New York State government's current and future information technology (IT) workforce. Based on a comprehensive survey of the state's IT workforce, recommendations were made to improve training, enhance recruitment and retention strategies, and strengthen agency and enterprise IT planning. More than 2,800 state IT professionals participated in the survey conducted by the Center for Technology in Government.

Dr. Michael Mittleman
photo by Wayne Hanson

"New York's dedicated and expert IT workforce is second to none," said Mittleman. "We rely on their ability daily to deliver, through technology, the most critical and even the most basic services to state agencies and the citizens they serve. The recommendations are designed to ensure the state can continue to recruit and retain workers and provide training necessary to maintain high-level skills and keep pace with modern technologies."

Information technology is central to nearly all core business functions and to the overall operation of New York State agencies, said the state in a release. Maximizing New York's benefits from technology requires not only investment in hardware and software, but equal emphasis on ensuring that our workforce has the skills to leverage technology effectively and creatively in support of the state's business objectives.

The New York State CIO Council has made the following recommendations based on the survey results:
  • Align IT training with the state IT architecture and agency missions.
  • Centralize the IT training curriculum within the Technology Academy and appoint an Advisory Board to direct the program.
  • Target enhanced training investments to address identified IT skills gaps.
  • Encourage IT employees and managers to assume more responsibility for employee development.
  • Identify training strategies and partnerships that ensure cost-effective means for developing IT skills.
  • Adopt methodologies to ensure the training investment effectively impacts job performance.
  • Consider methods to better compensate IT employees for improvement of key proficiencies.
  • Analyze the study results when planning IT examinations and IT title changes.
  • Explore the use of the retiree population to help address attrition and loss of IT skills.
The survey, sponsored by the New York State Chief Information Officer, the Governor's Office of Employee Relations and endorsed by the Pubic Employees Federation and Civil Service Employees Association, was conducted by the CIO Council Human Resources Committee and was administered by the Center for Technology in Government (CTG).

CTG summarized its findings in a companion document, "New York State Information Technology Workforce Skills Assessment: Statewide Survey Results." The report provides New York with quality information to meet the training and development needs of its IT professionals better and to identify future needs for IT skills.

Sharon Dawes, Director of CTG and lead author of the report said, "This report is the result of an extraordinary partnership among state government leaders and executives, employee unions, university researchers, and the state's information technology professionals. It is a first-of-its-kind assessment of the skills New York has in its public service today and the ones it will need in the near future. The results will help New York make sound future investments that will enhance the competence of the state workforce in ways that benefit all New Yorkers."

The employee survey population included 4,882 IT professionals employed in 54 state agencies, authorities and boards with approximately 58 percent participation. The online surveys addressed 126 skills ranging from programming and security to system design and development, to IT management and general management skills. State employees also answered questions about their preferences for training methods and supplied comments and additional information in an open-ended question. The CIO survey gathered three-year forecasts about the future need for the same 126 skills.

Some findings outlined in the report include:
  • The IT workforce has strong and pervasive management skills, and strong proficiency in fundamental IT topics.
  • The most important needs for training fall into the competency areas of web computing, infrastructure, and management and use of information as an asset.
  • IT employees are well-educated and very experienced in state government and in the missions of agencies.
  • The workforce is stable and highly motivated for training in both traditional and new areas.
  • The retirement picture is mixed and non-managerial IT professionals indicate they may retire in only modest numbers in the near future, but a growing wave of impending retirements -- especially after 2009 and among management staff -- is a concern.