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The skills gap becomes the skills chasm

by Marcus Jewell on ‎05-02-2017 07:16 PM (2,586 Views)

In a recent blog we investigated how investment in upskilling is essential to furthering the IT department’s functional shift from business transformation to consultancy. In this instalment, we’ll once again dip into our Global Digital Transformation Skills Index to investigate how, if things remain unchanged, IT department leaders see the skills gap evolving, and what external pressures they worry will affect the acquisition of talent now and in the future.

With the lack of investment in training that currently exists, IT leaders foresee the skills gap only widening as time goes on. In fact, almost half of global respondents believe that hiring IT staff with the right skills will only get tougher over the next 10 years as the talent pool becomes ever shallower.

Recent geopolitical events have done little to soothe IT leaders’ fears around the widening skills gap. Nearly half (43%) of our respondents agreed that the current political climate was negatively affecting their attempts at hiring sufficiently skilled employees. This was of particular concern in the US, where just over half felt the political climate was a skills obstacle. Interestingly, despite BREXIT, UK IT decision makers felt this was not a major concern for sourcing talent now and in the future.

As IT leaders are already worried about staff and skills shortages impacting digital transformation goals in the here and now, if these concerns aren’t addressed, the threats businesses face will only intensify.

In the minds of key IT decision makers a diminished talent pool holds myriad threats to businesses. Besides the practical considerations around implementing new technologies effectively, the greatest concerns globally are a decrease in employee satisfaction and a loss of market share to competitors.

If lack of skills does indeed lead to a slowdown in digital transformation efforts, there are a number of knock-on effects that IT leaders fear will affect the business. In France, for instance, they worry about losing business staff due to poor IT, and 62% predict business staff leaving if IT can’t secure talent. In Singapore, IT leaders are concerned that they’ll be unable to attract new customers if they don’t keep pace with competitors’ digital transformation initiatives.

These are serious issues for businesses of any size, and highlight how crucial it is for IT heads to get ahead of this problem before it escalates. Whilst many IT leaders are attempting to stem the tide of the skills gap before it becomes unstoppable, our skills personas breakdown (INSERT LINK), indicates that many are currently woefully unprepared.

It’s not too late for IT leaders to make the systemic changes needed to ensure the future of their teams. If they don’t act now they risk the skills gap becoming a chasm that swallows their department.