Content, Channel markets, Channel partners, MSP, Security Staff Acquisition & Development, VAR

Research: Channel Partners Struggle to Find, Hire Qualified Talent

In unguarded moments, seasoned researchers will tell you the best data is that which confirms their working hypotheses. Another way of saying it is that data surprises, particularly those out of left field, are not a researcher’s friend. Above all else researchers prize consistency and enlightenment.

With those thoughts in mind, BDSmktg and ChannelE2E have fielded a research study to explore channel partner hiring and talent trends. Below is the first installment of a four-part series presenting the results.

The work’s top-level findings -- channel partners are beset by the same dearth of qualified talent as the rest of the industry and the enterprise, especially in technical positions (think security, data analytics, cloud migration) -- mirror the skills gap that besets much of the IT community.

Channel Partner Talent: Research Background

ChannelE2E and BDSmktg interviewed 421 U.S.-based channel business owners and C-level executives and found that a sizable 40 percent are currently hiring. Of the 119 organizations that are looking for qualified candidates, on average each channel partner organization wants to fill four open slots.

What the channel seeks is what you might expect -- rainmakers that bring in business and those that deliver results. More than half (51 percent) of the available jobs are technical in nature while sales commands another 31 percent. The remainder is divided among ancillary positions -- six percent for project management, administrative/finance at about five percent, marketing at two percent, executive roles at slightly less than two percent and unspecified positions at slightly less than four percent.

Marketing appears be the outlier here but it also may reflect that partners believe the sales tree is full it just needs a little shaking to bear fruit.

Don’t blame channel partners for not opening up new opportunities. They do. Many of their available positions are newly listed, with 68 percent unoccupied for less than three months. Nearly 40 percent of those have been listed for only a month. Slightly more than one quarter have been offered for up to six months, with only a scant eight percent open for as long as a year. Those jobs presumably are for high-level executive positions that typically take longer to fill.

The Talent Struggle

Channel partners may be a bit antsy to fill the open positions. Some 55 percent say they struggle to fill positions in a timely manner. While 13 percent have more candidates than vacant jobs, nearly nine percent report they are far behind in filling open positions. About 23 percent believe the flow of new hires matches the rate at which positions open up.

What accounts for the mismatches? More than 37 percent of channel partners say the candidates that apply for the open jobs are under qualified (there’s that nagging skills gap issue again) and, correspondingly, about 23 percent say they aren’t attracting enough candidates to find suitable talent. That’s 60 percent combined who believe there’s not enough qualified job seekers to go around.

Others point to candidates that want more money than the partner has budgeted (19 percent) while a bit more than seven percent say the ones they picked haven't panned out. Only 1.5 percent offer that interested candidates are over qualified for the open positions. The remaining 11 percent list a smattering of other reasons.

Good News, Bad News

Overall, what can we say about the state of channel hiring? Well, we have a mixed bag it seems. There’s jobs available, that’s for sure. A sufficient number of channel partner companies are hiring, mostly for technical and sales jobs. However, nearly four in 10 candidates are under qualified for the positions they seek.

Next week, we’ll investigate why channel organizations are hiring, if they’re hiring more this year than last, where they're look for talent and their level of satisfaction with their recruiting sources.

Stay on the line, we’ll share part two of our analysis soon -- along with some recommendations for partners in hiring mode.