Three in Four IT Departments Face Critical Skills Gaps New Report Shows – FE News

@Skillsoft’s Global Knowledge Skills and Salary Report Finds Gaps in IT staff skills are causing increased stress levels and decreased productivity within organisations  

Skillsoft, a global leader in corporate digital learning, today released its annual Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report, exploring the current state of skills gaps, training and development, compensation, and job satisfaction in the IT industry. Based on responses from more than 9,300 IT professionals, the report found that 76 percent of IT decision makers worldwide are facing critical skills gaps in their departments – a 145 percent increase since 2016. While still a significant challenge, this represents the second consecutive year of slight improvement (79 percent in 2019, 78 percent in 2020). 

“Today’s digital-first economy has presented significant opportunities for organisations. However, it has also created a dire need for new skills in cloud computing, cybersecurity, AI, DevOps, and many other critical tech areas,” said Michael Yoo, General Manager, Technology & Developer, Skillsoft.

“Gaps in skills don’t just disappear, they only grow wider if not properly addressed. While it is encouraging to see early signs of closing the gap, work is far from done. Organisations must place a bigger emphasis on investing in employee training, empowering professionals to earn new certifications, and filling vacant roles with diverse candidates.” 

To continue closing the skills gap, understanding the reasons behind it, and its impact, is critical. As digital transformation accelerates, 38 percent of IT decision makers cited the rate of technology change outpacing their existing skills development programs as the primary driver, followed by difficulty in attracting qualified candidates (35 percent) and lack of investment in training resources (32 percent). In addition to the direct effect these gaps have on organisations’ bottom lines – IDC predicts the financial impact growing to $6.5 trillion worldwide by 20251 – respondents also said they increase employee stress (55 percent), make it difficult to meet quality and business objectives (42 percent and 36 percent, respectively), and create project delays (35 percent), among other challenges.  

Of note, organisations are increasingly recognising the role that professional development plays in combating skills gaps and raising employee morale and retention, with 56 percent of IT decision makers saying they have a plan in place to train existing team members. And, given that 80 percent of IT professionals report a myriad of benefits after achieving new skills and certifications – including improved quality of work (49 percent), higher levels of engagement (32 percent), and faster job performance (27 percent) – providing upskilling opportunities is a win-win for both organisations and employees alike.  

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Additional takeaways from the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary include:  

  • IT staff crave learning and development and will move on if they are not getting it. 

    • For the third consecutive year, respondents that switched employers within the past year cited a lack of growth and development opportunities as their top reason for doing so (59 percent), taking precedence over better compensation (39 percent) and work/life balance (31 percent).  

    • When training, 66 percent of respondents said they prefer a formal, instructor-led approach, while the remaining third gravitate toward informal, peer-to-peer methods, underscoring the value of providing personalised and blended learning experiences.  

  • Salaries are on the rise and opportunities exist for even bigger paychecks. 

    • The average annual salary for IT professionals has increased across all regions. Aside from executives and those in sales, the higher-paying positions are in cloud, risk management, security, and IT architecture and design.  

    • 52 percent of respondents said they received a raise in the past year. Of those, 60 percent attributed it to job performance, developing new skills, or obtaining an industry certification. 

  • More IT professionals are certified than ever and are boosting the bottom line. 

    • 92 percent of all respondents said they have at least one certification, a 5 percent and 7 percent increase compared to 2020 and 2019, respectively. 

      • 64 percent of IT decision makers say certified employees deliver $10,000 or more in added value compared to non-certified team members, demonstrating the positive impact that investment in training has on organisations’ bottom lines.  

Research Methodology: The 2021 IT Skills and Salary Survey was conducted online from November 2020 through February 2021, yielding more than 9,300 responses globally from IT decision makers and staff. Distributed by Global Knowledge, technology companies, and industry associations around the world, the survey was made available in web articles, online newsletters, and social media, and tabulated using the Qualtrics XM Platform. 

1 – IDC, IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Future of Work 2022 Predictions, Doc. #US47290521, October 2021

IT managers not prepared for their role, SkillSoft warns 

24th Sept 2008: According to SkillSoft, almost seven in ten workers have been asked to accomplish tasks without receiving proper training beforehand. The study was conducted on behalf of the provider of SaaS e-learning by OnePoll, between October 2007 and June 2008. A total of 6,100 employees participated from the US, UK and the rest of Europe.

The survey warns that the problem is even more pronounced within IT. In the US, some 78 per cent of IT professionals say they have been approached to perform tasks for which they were not previously trained. In the UK and Europe, the number was 74 per cent, and ‘managing people’ is the task that managers claim to feel most inadequately prepared for.

The managing director of SkillSoft, EMEA, Kevin Young, said: “This survey not only shows the significance of leadership training, but it also proves workers need to be trained at all stages of their careers.”

The research showed that most workers believe ongoing training, development and flexibility to take training when necessary is vital, regardless of location, position and job role. A total of 67 per cent of the UK employees polled insisted training is most important for managers. In the US and throughout the rest of Europe, this figure falls to just over 50 per cent.

Mr Young added: “Regardless of a company’s training programme, on-boarding plays a key role in getting employees properly acclimated. As the employee matures, learning and development needs to fit the specific employee role.”

The findings suggest the basic training available is not enough for employees to feel totally comfortable in their roles, and that management skills training is a neglected area. Managers across the world, however, agree that development and training plays a significant part of their organisation’s strategy.

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