Shortage of mainframe skills looms but companies remain in denial

Like the rabbit caught the a car's headlights the IT industry does not know which way to jump to sort skills shortage.

Despite a looming mainframe skills shortage few companies have worked out how they are going to deal with the issue.

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According to the survey by Compuware, "the impending retirement of the mainframe workforce continues to be a major cause of concern for CIOs", but few companies have created a formal plan to address these risks . When compared to Compuware’s 2011 survey, the last time it was done, the situation has hardly changed.

The issue is a simple one: many of the people with core mainframe skills are now approaching retirement age and it seems that most companies are waiting for somebody — they do not know who — to step in and solve the issue for them. It is one they seem incapable of solving themselves.

Some 66 percent of CIOs fear that the impending retirement of the mainframe workforce will hurt their business by reducing their ability to support legacy applications. Many core applications in areas like banking, finance and even telecommunications still run on mainframe systems.

The loss of people with mainframe development skills is seen as a primary concern by 61 percent of the CIOs surveyed. On a slightly better note, while some 40 percent of CIOs admitted that they had no formal plans in place to address the mainframe developer/operator shortage, this was slightly better than the 46 percent who back in 2011 said they had no formal plan.

Compuware's global survey of IT skills in the mainframe workforce covers 350 companies around the world.

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