Educational IT talent is becoming scarcer and, as a result, costlier, placing additional pressure on school budgets that are already stretched too thin.

Today’s classrooms are becoming increasingly dependent on digital technology and strong network connectivity, and as a new study reveals, that has put a premium on IT talent in the education space. The most recent K-12 IT Salary and Job Satisfaction Survey from THE Journal found that salaries have climbed for nearly every class of educational IT professional — and with them, job satisfaction.

These are positive trends for qualified IT professionals, but as a shrinking talent pool and tightening budgets put pressure on districts, the rising cost of hiring talent may end up negatively impacting these professionals’ workplace experiences.

Rising Salaries, Satisfaction

THE Journal’s survey revealed that the average salary for technological professionals in education jumped to $66,640 in 2017, an increase of $3,000 since 2015. While compensation for help desk/support workers fell, salaries for all but two other specialties grew over the past two years, with systems administrators, web developers, and database administrators seeing the most substantial pay increases.

Unsurprisingly, these pay increases are translating into higher job satisfaction among these professionals: the survey found that 84 percent of respondents planned to remain at their current job for at least the following year. Turnover is remarkably low among educational IT professionals in general (regardless of salary increases), with a majority of respondents having been in their current role for 11 years or more, and one in five reporting a tenure of over 21 years!

Trend Likely to Continue

As the digitization of K-12 education drives up demand for tech talent, the relatively scarce supply of such talent will only place additional upward pressure on salaries. Rapid advances in technology — and the best practices for managing it — have created an IT skills gap that spans the economy, thrusting organizations in every sector into intense competition over a limited talent pool.

At the same time, school budgets are continuing to shrink, even as the need for more robust technology in the classroom becomes evident to educators and policymakers alike. This trend has not gone unnoticed by IT professionals themselves, who, according to THE Journal, cited smaller budgets as their biggest challenge in their current positions. As schools attempt to support increasingly ambitious technological initiatives, their IT staffs’ frustration with budgetary constraints is only going to grow.

Keeping Your IT Staff Satisfied

This burgeoning frustration is yet another reason why it’s incumbent upon every school district to maximize the amount of funding it receives from local, state, and federal authorities. Doing so year in and year out requires diligent recordkeeping, which is where a tool like Vinson’s CheckPoint EMIS Platform comes into play.

CheckPoint streamlines a district’s data gathering, organizing, and validating processes, ensuring the student enrollment and attendance records the district submits to various funding authorities will always be accurate, up-to-date, and complete. At the end of the day, a school’s top technology staffers more than deserve the high salaries they command, and CheckPoint can help any district secure the budgetary resources it needs to remain an appealing option for increasingly in-demand IT talent.