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How to recruit for MIS roles

26 June 2024

The demand for Management Information System (MIS) professionals seems to have increased over the last few months, with a high number of colleges needing to recruit to these roles. However, the ongoing challenges of recruiting MIS professionals have made it difficult for colleges to source a strong field of candidates.

As a team, we have successfully supported a number of colleges in recruiting for MIS roles. Our advice in this blog is based on what we’ve learnt from each process, each candidate we have spoken with, and includes the views of a current senior MIS Manager who has recently been appointed as Head of MIS for a large further education (FE) college.

The challenges

The level of salaries on offer are not competitive enough to attract MIS professionals already working in the sector and for those individuals who are in similar roles out of sector. Strong MIS professionals already in FE are like gold dust and the numbers appear to be dwindling every day – this means that managers with strong MIS experts will do what they can to keep their staff knowing that replacing the role will be a tough challenge. Individuals working out of the sector are already on high salaries and therefore very rarely can be convinced to join our sector for financial reasons.

Complexities of the role
The complexities around funding methodologies have had a big impact on MIS professionals and have contributed to a number of individuals leaving the FE sector.

The move to interim roles
The nature of short-term interim assignments has attracted many MIS professionals away from permanent roles and into interim assignments. The day rate for interim managers is very competitive and hence an attractive move for many MIS individuals who are already in high demand.

Qualifications and progression
There appears to be no formal qualifications for MIS professionals to undertake. Therefore, more time needs to be dedicated to developing MIS professionals and providing them with more CPD opportunities, so they have the opportunity to develop in their existing organisations.

The benefits

There are, however, common factors which have influenced candidates to look at new roles.

Although also a challenge, if a college can offer a competitive salary it can be an important “hook” to engage candidates.

Being part of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), has been a key selling point for some MIS roles. This allows individuals to be involved in strategic decisions which has been important for some candidates.

The breadth of the role is an important selling point. MIS roles which cover a broad remit are attractive to those candidates who are looking for a more diverse role.

Flexible working
Roles which come with flexible working are much more attractive to candidates. Candidates have seen the benefits of flexible working and more than ever are now seeking roles which give them this flexibility. Colleges which offer some form of flexible working have seen a higher level of interest from potential candidates.

As well as considering whether your college is offering the above, it may also be worth thinking about incentives like bonuses where you can’t offer a competitive salary. Most colleges want candidates with experience of working in the FE sector, however if you are willing to be flexible about previous experience, there could be lots of great candidates from the school and higher education sectors.

Harpreet Jossan is a Recruitment Manager (Executive Recruitment) at Assocation of Colleges.