local IT budgets on the rise, but staffing concerns loom large

State & Local

Local IT budgets on the rise, but staffing concerns loom large

IT budgets are on the rise for many cities and counties, but technology executives in those local governments still have concerns about investment levels in certain key areas -- and in their ability to retain top talent.

Those trends are among the findings in a new survey by the Public Technology Institute and Deltek. Nearly 300 city and county IT executives were polled on their funding, organizational issues, staff and training needs, technology trends and relations with the vendor community.

Percentage of city/county IT leaders who expect budgets to increase

When asked how top government leaders view IT spending, 63 percent of respondents said their bosses view IT budgets as an "investment for saving money in other business areas." And while more respondents (47 percent) expect their funding to remain the same than to increase (44 percent), just 9 percent were bracing for IT budget cuts.

Concerns remain, however, about about funding levels for certain categories of IT investments -- and especially for in-house IT staff.

Percentage of who believe an IT category is inadequately funded.

Levels of concern regarding loss of in-house IT staff over the next year

Answer Options Not Sure Very Low Low Average High Very High
Hiring away by private-sector 6% 15% 20% 23% 28% 8%
Hiring away by public-sector 5% 15% 25% 31% 18% 6%
Retirement of staff 9% 28% 15% 23% 15% 10%
Staff quitting 5% 25% 31% 24% 10% 5%
Eliminating positions due to budget cuts 7% 39% 28% 15% 7% 4%

Nearly three-quarters of executives responded that their budgets for staff development, training, travel and education will remain the same in the coming year. And more than 70 percent of respondents said they were either dissatisfied, very dissatisfied or unsure in their ability to attract and hire architects / system designers, security / risk assurance personnel as well as developers / programmers.

The full survey is available on the PTI website.

About the Author

Jonathan Lutton is an FCW editorial fellow. Connect with him at jlutton@fcw.com

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