The fierce competition for top talent over the last year has saddled business leaders with a definite cost: their vacant positions. Some costs are out in the open while others are hiding just out of sight. With the average IT job now remaining open for 44 days or more, the cumulative total of those business expenses can spiral out of control.
How high is the cost really? Far more than you might imagine. With the combination of tangible and intangible costs, there is an unambiguous toll on your top and bottom line. Here’s some insight into calculating the cost of a vacant position for each of the main factors and how you can get a tailored estimate of your actual hiring expenses.
The Direct Costs of Vacant IT Positions
The link between IT vacancies and your ability to make money is the clearest to decipher. Though your employees do not have a symmetrical impact on your revenue and profitability, there are some basic formulas and considerations you can use to estimate the reduced slice of your financial pie in their absence causes.
Vacant positions have a direct impact on the ability of any organization to grow their revenue. Fewer people contributing to your problem solving and deliverables will obviously put your revenue in a rut. One of the most rudimentary ways to calculate the loss of revenue from vacant positions is by using the following formula:
Your revenue per employee (Your total company’s revenue / Your total employees) / 220 working days in a year.
Though this gives you a rough calculation, the resulting dollar amount fails to account for the seniority of a position or how integral a missing technical skillset is to your overall success. By incorporating the loss of your productivity (more on this shortly), you can get a more nuanced perspective of the cost of your vacant IT position.
Without paying an employee’s salary, benefits, and tax obligations, you might assume that there might be a temporary boost in overall profitability. Dice offers a formula to calculate the amount of savings a company has just from leaving a position open:
Position’s annual salary & benefits / 200 working days X average days to hire
On the surface, this removes an expense from your profitability calculations, but it does not account for the consequent expenses of leaving the position open. Marketing and job board costs for finding a new employee, the salaries of in-house people searching for candidates, onboarding expenses, or even the cost of engaging an IT consultant as a stop gap accumulate and detract from your overall profitability – especially when your revenue is already hindered.
The Hidden Costs of Vacant IT Positions
In general, hidden losses are the toughest to anticipate. Even after you can uncover the source of your loss, it still can be very difficult to calculate the precise amount lost. How can anyone really measure missed potential?
Though not all these categories equate to a cut-and-dry figure, they can be an excellent reminder of irrecoverable losses that you’ll deal with when you have issues filling up vacant positions.
Fewer people result in diminished production. It’s not so much of a groundbreaking revelation as it is a sober reminder of the power of a complete roster. Especially in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field or other skilled positions.
For example, you might spend more time in the product development phase of a containerized application because you lack enough team members to modernize your legacy applications. If you’re creating a hybrid cloud environment, you might fall behind as team members scramble to bridge the gap between elements of your private and public cloud platforms. Any number of vacancies hurt team production.
Even when your team is doing their best to collaborate, sometimes putting in extra hours to hit deadlines, they are still dedicating more hours to projects that might have been completed in shorter timelines. This translates to a higher cost of a project per labor hour as well as a lower number of completed IT projects in a given financial year, having a ripple effect across the productivity and revenue generation of your organization.
Long-term vacancies take their toll on your team as well. As the bandwidth of your technical team achieves full capacity, so does their stress levels, which if left unaddressed cause higher burnout rates across your organization.
In the current candidate market, where IT teams attempt to do more with fewer people, we’re seeing a rise in overall feelings of burn out. According to a Dice survey, 36% of IT professionals were feeling really burnt out in Q2 of 2021. As shortages persist and leaders strive to navigate the ins and outs of remote workforce management, we’re bound to see more candidates pushed to the brink and a rise in voluntary turnover. One helpful formula to calculate comes the Predictive Index:
(Vacant position cover cost + cost to fill the vacant position + onboarding & orientation costs + productivity ramp up) X Number of employees lost in a year X 12 months
The Price Tag of Your Vacant IT Positions
All of these upfront and behind-the-scene expenses need to be incorporated into your computation if you are going to get a full perspective and determine the best methods of cost containment. This requires a granular view of each factor as well as an understanding of the compensation benchmarks for your specific vacant roles when compared to your region. Harmonizing all of these different expenses can be a costly process, but when you can determine what you’re losing from your vacant IT positions, you can justify taking more direct action to mitigate your loss.
Are you looking to get a customized estimate for the cost of your vacant IT positions? Reach out to the Capstone IT team for a quick assessment of your current costs.
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