Employers can beat skills shortages by using their existing staff, according to new research.
Two-thirds of the 1,500 middle managers surveyed for business software company Infinium say their ideal job actually exists in their current organisation.
In 22% of cases that job is further up the career ladder. For one in 10 the job would need a change of direction, but still be in the company.
However, nearly two-thirds of organisations have little or no succession planning or management. Even when there is a strategy, training in key topics is generally done in an ad hoc way, and amounts to no more than four days a year on average.
This means that in more than 40% of companies people are prepared for promotion only by being given progressively more responsible roles, supported, if they are lucky, by their immediate line managers.
The findings add weight to arguments that companies can find IT recruits in user departments instead of needing to go to the jobs market.
Other research suggests existing IT staff can be groomed for promotion. A study by Industrial Relations Services shows IT has one of the lowest staff turnover rates. After the fire and police services, with a 7.3% annual turnover, come consultancy with 13.9% and IT with 15.7%.
"In today's business environment employees can be the biggest and most stable asset a company has," says Infinium director Terry Joint. "It is unthinkable that so many companies do not take staff development into account in their planning.
"The advent of e-commerce means companies need to be able to transform themselves, and employees need to add to their personal skills portfolios more proactively," says Joint. "It makes sense for them to do so in partnership. In the modern economy, old-fashioned employer-employee suspicions have to be overcome."