Database Administration Staffing Takes a Hit

August, 2015

In recent years, DBAs have made up a somewhat steady portion of the IT staff, but this year marked the first indication of a decline.

As Figure 1 from our study Database Administration Staffing Ratios shows, DBAs as a percentage of the IT staff declined to 2.9% at the median in 2015, after holding steady at the 3.3% level the previous four years.

DBAstaffing Fig 1 - Database Administration Staffing Takes a Hit

It remains to be seen whether this is the start of a trend or an isolated fluctuation in what has been a steady ratio. Renewed hiring in other functions could partly account for the change, including hiring of big data specialists. We put data analyst, data modelers, and data warehouse specialists in a separate category for data management specialists.

The full study is designed to help IT managers determine whether they are keeping pace with industry standards by providing four benchmarks: DBAs as a percentage of the IT staff, DBAs as a percentage of the Data Center Group, users per DBA, and business applications per DBA.

We present benchmarks for small, midsize, and large organizations. We also examine the influence of sector on these benchmarks. For benchmarking, IT organizations should  use benchmarks by organization size and sector.

We use the term “database administrator” to refer to IT staff members engaged in tasks directly associated with maintaining databases, including implementing improvements such as installing new software, updating software, configuring database hardware and software for optimal performance, and monitoring database performance. DBAs also manage backup routines that give an organization the means to recover from erroneous data entries, software errors, hardware failures, or disasters, along with frequent testing of the data to be used for recovery.

DBAs in small organizations may be called upon to perform other duties such as database design and development tasks. Personnel who are primarily engaged in maintaining databases should be included in the DBA category. However, if they are primarily involved with designing data architectures and data schemes, they are not included in this category. We place data analysts, modelers, and architects involved with developing databases and applications in a separate category of data management, which also includes data warehouse and business intelligence functions. For the purpose of benchmarking, we adjust staffing levels to account for outsourcing.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Database Administration Staffing Ratios. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).

Do you also need staffing ratios for other IT job functions? Consider this collection of all of our staffing ratio reports, which bundles them all into a single report at a significant discount: IT Staffing Ratios–Special Report Bundle.