Is That MSP You're Working For A Stepping-Stone To A Bigger Career

Whether you are recruited out of college or worked your way up the corporate ladder, high-level management positions may only be stepping-stones. Lengthy careers in the Managed Services Provider (MSP) industry typically include advancement opportunities at other firms. The decision to remain with one organization on a long-term or permanent business requires significant soul searching. Executives often consider salary, bonuses, benefits, and perks when weighing their options. Before putting down roots in the community or making a long-term commitment, ask yourself whether the MSP you’re working is a stepping-stone.

How Long Do C-Suite Executives Stay?

MSP Tech News interviewed New Jersey’s Alexander Schmidt from Netovo on hiring staff within an MSP.

Although people climbing the MSP ladder may consider C-suite positions the end goal, statistics indicate otherwise. A Forbes magazine analysis of career mobility highlights that executives are more nomadic than one might anticipate. Consider the study’s results.

  • Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs): These C-suite executives are prone to move more often than others. Upwards of 10 percent show interest in changing positions, and 7 percent are “extremely interested.” CMOs rank as the most dissatisfied of the C-suite workforce.
  • Chief Executive Officers (CEO): Approximately 3 percent would like to change jobs, and 1 percent state they are extremely interested. Still, that’s 3 out of every 100 MSPs that could lose its leader.
  • Chief Operating Officer (COO): Upwards of 7 percent of COOs indicate they would like to change posts, and 2 percent state they are extremely interested in leaving. That means 7-in-100 MSPs could lose their number two.
  • Chief Financial Officer (CFO): These executives said they want to change jobs at a rate of 6 percent, with 3 percent urgently wanting a new position.

The number of C-suite executives who are itching to transition to a more suitable or better-paying position may not seem high. But those statistics should be weighed against the fact that few comparable positions exist compared to the general workforce. Experienced CEOs, CMOs, COOs, and CFOs, among others, bring rare talent to an MSP. That’s why C-suite executives routinely weigh their current position and options.

How To Know When To Leave A C-Suite Position

Carl Fransen, with CTECH Consulting Group in Calgary shares.

People in leadership roles find motivation from a wide range of things. Implementing a business strategy and watching it grow can be fulfilling. Competing in the MSP sector and achieving incremental goals can drive some leaders. In other cases, a change in someone’s personal life can prompt a re-evaluation of their commitment. And people with a career path and mind stick with an MSP until they check the following boxes.

  • Experience: It’s not uncommon for C-suite executives to put in 10-15 years at a firm before being elevated. After securing a leadership position, one study indicates that CEO turnover hovered around 18 percent. Although the road into the CEO office remains long, change occurs relatively quickly after gaining valuable experience.
  • Networking: Business leaders typically engage in robust networking while building a career. Those contacts help solve challenges and open doors. C-suite executives have access to high-profile board members and ownership once arriving. Networking with top-tier leaders from other organizations allows career-minded people to take advantage of opportunities.
  • Value: Company leaders usually come to the table with a passion for success. That drive separates them from people who put more stock in non-work enthusiasms. Regardless of how focused on MSP success an executive may be, most people want to earn fair market value. Checking in with head-hunting outfits or salary statistics provides a ballpark estimate of salary potential.

Having cultivated a reputation, gained valuable experience, and built a network in the MSP sector, business leaders would be wise to engage in lengthy soul searching. You earned your way into a highly sought after position. The grass is often not greener at another MSP. It may be worthwhile to consider whether your current firm has the chops to grow and expand. Ask yourself: Does ownership or the board share your vision about the future of the company?

Deciding whether the MSP you’re working for is a stepping-stone job or a long-term opportunity can be a deeply personal and challenging decision. The good news is that you will have options in the coming years. The MSP compound annual growth rate reportedly exceeded 12 percent from 2014 to 2019, and it shows no sign of slowing over the next five years.