The Rise and Fall of Network Support Staffing

March, 2016

After rising significantly at the start of the recovery period, network support staffing as a percentage of the IT staff has descended to its lowest point in five years.

Figure 1 from our study, Network Support Staffing Ratios, shows that the ratio peaked in 2013 at 6.7% before falling to 5.7% in 2015, retreating to a level not far below where it stood in 2011 just as IT organizations began increasing staff headcount for the first time since the Great Recession.

NetworkSS Fig 1 - The Rise and Fall of Network Support Staffing

The rise and fall of network support staff could well be due to hiring in other significant areas such as application support and help desk staff, rather than any changes going on in the network support. On the other hand, cloud computing, network outsourcing, and network virtualization could be starting to influence staffing levels in this critical area. The data suggests better technology, automation, and outsourcing are enabling IT organizations to absorb more technology without adding more people.

The full study will help IT managers determine whether their organization is keeping pace with improvements in network management by comparing their network support staffing against industry benchmarks. We provide four benchmarks: network support staff as a percentage of the IT staff, network support staff as a percentage of the Network and Communications Group, users per network support staff member, and network devices per network support staff member. We provide benchmarks for the composite sample and by sector and organization size.

In this study, network support staff includes personnel with titles that include the designations of engineer, architect, administrator, technician, specialist, or analyst for voice and data networks. The network support staff headcount does not include managers, but would include supervisors and senior-level personnel.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Network Support 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.