A lack of skills and training opportunities is driving helpdesk staff away from the industry, according to a survey by Vivid Interface for magazine Helpdesk and IT Support Week.
The research, based on interviews with 1,000 IT helpdesk staff, found that 66% of support workers have no IT qualifications and 33% have not received training in the past year.
Despite this, only staff with helpdesk qualifications or those on a certification programme were likely to receive a pay increase, the survey found.
Employers recognise that qualifications such as ITIL certification (a set of best practices for IT management) are good for career prospects. But this is not reflected in the number of staff who are actually certified, the survey found.
Helpdesk operators are the most likely to change jobs, according to the survey, because of low job satisfaction and salary levels. Both helpdesk operators and support technicians cited lack of opportunity with their employer as the biggest reason for leaving their last job, with insufficient training opportunities coming second. Inadequate training forced 18% of 22- to 25-year-olds to leave their last job.
At the other end of the pay chart, IT managers were the most likely to be educated to degree level or above and to earn more: the average salary of an IT director was £40,346. But they also work the longest hours, with a total of 68% of IT managers working more than 40 hours per week.