Information Technology skills are becoming an increasingly important criterion while recruiting. The skill sets of an Information Technology professional are the backbone of most businesses in the 21st century. The spectrum of ‘IT skills’ is ever-broadening. Whether it’s general operations or systems knowledge or communication enabling the running of a help desk or being able to churn a loop of a seemingly endless number of languages for programming or managing IT personnel in any number of IT philosophies, such as agile and DevOps.
From a broader perspective, the ‘IT skill gap’ against ‘needed skills’ seems to vary based on the various companies’ needs and the job description of specific titles within one’s company. These arguments make it undeniable that, if one is directly involved in IT or not, some knowledge of information technology is imperative for accurate decision-making and taking advantage of shifting market trends. However, senior staff members and c-suite executives lack the required skills that impede decision-making and form a significant barrier to innovation and transformation.
Here are some remarkably shocking statistics which reveal the severity of the ‘IT Skills Gap.’
- Aligning IT with business services is challenging as C-level executives report a lack of IT skills, according to the Forbes 2017 report on IT service management. CIOs report that employees and candidates in higher ranks within the organization lack IT skills. Even though retaining and staffing help desk and entry- and mid-level programmers is not that difficult. Nevertheless, as technology evolves, developing even more specialized areas, the more challenging it is for companies to hire specific qualifications.
- The IT skills gap expanded with rising demand and inadequate supply during 2019. With the emergence of the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies, 133 million new roles will emerge globally by the year 2022, according to the World Economic Forum report. However, organizations will be slow in adapting to these advancements and will continue to rely on the human workforce for creative problem-solving.
- Another research survey concluded that 75% of organizations in the US are struggling to recruit the right candidate due to the skills gap and 51% believe that the education system is not doing enough to address the cause. The human workforce is not entirely meant to be replaced in the future because artificially intelligent computing systems are expected to complement them. Overall, organizations ought to re-skill their workforce to take advantage of technological advancements.
The Severity of the IT Skills Gap
According to the TEK Systems study, more than 75% of the respondents validated that the “IT Skill Gap” is real. They further pointed out that only a third of companies have the talent in-house to meet their IT requirements.
Moreover, leaders with a macro view suggested that this gap has a significant negative impact, which means why candidates and open IT positions don’t match. Additionally, IT leaders also reported unqualified candidate pools, i.e., candidate pools that don’t align with business needs, small pools of candidates, and budgetary constraints. Thus, reasoning why these factors prevent them from hiring perfect candidates. Likewise, IT professionals also touched on how many job requirements are unrealistic as their expectations do not align with compensation budgets. 41% of the professionals surveyed also stated that the experience or expertise that companies demand is too niche.
The severity of the IT skills gap is also impacting It teams. As 71% of the IT leaders surveyed reported decreased efficiency amongst their teams while 63% of IT workers agree. The main reason for this inefficiency is the time taken for project completion and time-to-market 69% of the time.
How IT Skill Gap is likely to cause organizational disruptions
- Team member Burnout: Since the availability of skilled employees is limited. The risk of current employee burnout is high due to workload becoming unmanageable. Even though the most convenient solution is training to bridge the gap, most IT professionals lack time to pursue professional development and develop new skills during the workday.
- Output quality becomes poorer: An IT team that is overworked and stressed leads to compromising on ‘excellence.’ If the current IT professionals have outdated skill sets, they cannot be expected to deliver value consistently. Because they dedicate more time to solving problems than to innovate, leading to a dip in quality. Overall, a domino effect on customer satisfaction results in lost business to competitors and decreased revenue.
- Employee Turnover: When skills gaps impede an IT professional’s job performance. They view it as a lack of support because their organization isn’t investing in their development and most likely take their talents elsewhere. In such scenarios, organizations risk losing critical skills and institutional knowledge, which may take ages to replace because those open positions are not easy to fill. Decision-makers are struggling to find qualified job candidates for high-priority IT roles.
- CyberSecurity Risks: Cybersecurity is a challenging hiring area due to the lack of cybersecurity professionals. As (ISC)2 reported a global shortage of 2.9 million cybersecurity professionals, which is quite frightening considering organizations are under pressure to keep customer data secure. More than ever, specialized security training should be intensified as cyberattacks escalate in size and sophistication. The result of not bridging this skill gap means potential data breaches and losing clients to different providers.
- Launches and Migrations are delayed: When staff is essentially not experts, the more common, it is to risk losing ground to competitors. For high-stakes projects, especially cloud migration, some organizations, before launching, ensure skill needs are documented and establish training plans. Thus, a major organizational shift is bound to reflect on the team’s required competencies.
How to prevent skills gap?
Finding quality candidates immensely depends on a strategic plan for the IT workforce. Not having a strategic plan will continue making it difficult for companies to hire quality IT candidates. In the long run, if positions go unfilled, the immediate impact is inefficiency, coupled with collateral damage, too. Because attrition is caused by decreased employee morale, i.e., companies are at a greater risk of losing existing talent.
So, what measures can companies take to fix this gap?
Selecting an appropriate modality
The first step is to understand that training formats are wide and varied. It can range from e-learning to classroom training, with its own set of perks and cons. Luckily, tools such as the Skills Development Index enables selection of optimal training modality. Therefore, it will be per the skill’s value, priority, and risk.
Secondly, make sure you define the criticality of the skill. Given the situation is of a high-priority project which is on the line. The most optimal choice would be a formal classroom setting via interaction with a subject matter expert. Likewise, the most effective alternative would be informal and social learning in a lower-priority skill-need situation.
Maximize Your Budget
According to Global Knowledge research, only 59% of the decision-makers approve training for their staff in 2019. Here are some tactics to maximize budget:
Prepaying protects against surprise budget fluctuations as you can choose the course you require whenever. Thus, locking a discounted training rate seems to be an intelligent choice.
Technology providers ranging from Cisco, Citrix, Microsoft, and VMware, offer training credits but with an expiration date. Therefore, ensure your organization has these as a way to drive the value of a technology investment.
Compared to public training courses, a private group training session is scalable, customizable, and cost-effective. Due to the very nature of allowing an entire team to gather in one location and collaborate while ensuring everyone is on the same page at the end of the day.
To stretch your budget further, be on the hunt for BOGO (buy one get one free) offers or other promotions since many training providers offer limited-time discounts, website exclusives, and membership discounts.
Selecting the perfect training partner
Ask yourself the following questions before moving forward:
- Does the partner provide all of the courses you require?
- Does the partner provide access to live subject matter experts?
- Does the partner work hand in hand with technology providers?
- Does the partner have multiple delivery formats to choose from?
- How does the partner make your life stress-free?
Ensuring your training provider is a one-stop solution for every single one of your skill-building needs is essential. Your business’s success can be supported by an effective partner that can identify the topics and technologies where opportunities exist the most.
The solution to IT skills gap may sometimes may not be as simple and not what you think. Read more about it here.
In this blog, we looked at a few examples of how a lack of IT skills can negatively impact a business. We also looked at a few ways that companies can overcome IT problems they may face. We hope that you have found our blog helpful, and that it helps you be aware of the possible impact the lack of IT skills can have on your business. If you have any questions or want to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact us.