IT Matters: IT Support Staff/End User Ratio "Short of Ideal"

Sept. 19, 2007
Difference between staffing in ideal and real worlds impacts organizational productivity

Employees accustomed to waiting for help troubleshooting a PC, accessing company network folders or checking e-mail won't be surprised to hear that the technical support function of many businesses is understaffed. In a new survey, chief information officers (CIOs) polled said their companies technical support teams are, on average, 40% smaller than they optimally should be.

CIOs were asked, "What is the ratio of internal end-users to technical support employees at your company?" The mean response was 136:1.

CIOs also were asked, "What would be the ideal ratio of internal end-users to technical support employees at your company?" The mean response was 82:1.

Survey results also indicated that CIOs from the largest companies (greater than 1,000 employees) were closest to their ideal level of technical support, with a ratio of end-users to IT staff of 118:1 versus an ideal of 82:1. Farthest from their ideal were CIOs from midsize firms (250-499 employees), who said that their ratio of end-users to IT support staff is 131:1, when in a perfect world it would be 64:1.

The national poll includes interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with 100 or more employees. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Robert Half Technology.

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