Great Resignation Wave Will Hit Channel Hard

With more individuals being asked to return to the office on at least a part-time basis many people are opting to quit. Known as the Great Resignation, a survey of 30,000 people conducted by Microsoft suggests 40% the global workforce considering leaving their employer this year. Last April nearly 4 million people, or 2.8% of the workforce, resigned, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

A separate survey of 2,800 professionals conducted by Robert Half, a global staff firm, finds nearly half (47%) want a position that is fully remote, with 39% interested in full-time contracting.

Just how great the wave of resignations will be remains to be seen, but IT professionals clearly enjoy a lot of flexibility given the demand for their skills. Most IT professionals will simply opt to take another job at a different organization. Some might even go to work for IT services providers that tend to pay better than the average organization because they monetize the expertise of the IT professionals they employ.

However, there are likely to be many that decide the time has come to strike out their own. In fact, many of the employees of IT services providers will be among them. Employees of IT services providers leaving to start their own company is not a new phenomenon. What is changing is how easy IT vendors are making it for a wider range of solution providers to join their channel programs. Case in point is Cisco, which recently started fulfilling a previous commitment it made to expand its channel to include programs that reward both advisors and developers alongside traditional resellers and integrators.

Partners can participate at any level of the Cisco program, which means for one deal they could be considered a managed service provider (MSP) while for the next they might be an advisor that is rewarded for the influence they exercised rather than the actual resale of a product or service. “We want to give the partner the choice, said Marc Surplus, vice president of partner strategy and programs for Cisco’s Global Partner Sales organization.

Cisco has been telegraphing that move since last year and is still in the progress in terms of rolling it out. Obviously, Cisco made the decision to include advisors in its channel program prior to the so-called Great Resignation. However, at a time when more organizations are consuming as-a-service platforms provided by vendors there’s no doubt such programs lower the barrier for entry into the channel. It’s even conceivable that after a wave of recent consolidations there could be an expansion of the overall channel as more consulting firms are rewarded for the influence they exercise.

Like most megatrends the Great Resignation will cut both ways in the channel. Not every solution provider is enthusiastic about vendors selling as-as-service platforms that in many cases are an alternative to traditional managed services. One ay or another, however, change is surely coming to the channel. The issue now like it or not is determining how soon and to what degree.

Michael Vizard
Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight, Channel Insider and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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