Skillsoft Blog

3 out of 4 of IT decision-makers report IT skill gaps

November 15, 2021 | by Michael Yoo

Almost every day we’re faced with evidence of labor shortages. We have to wait on line a little longer at the local grocery store. Your favorite restaurant is seating fewer tables than usual. The price of purchases such as cars and computers has gone up. Those who work in the tech industry know it’s not just the service and manufacturing sectors who are struggling to meet labor demands. In an October 2021 survey conducted by CNBC 57% of tech executives reported that finding qualified employees is their number one concern - ranking it higher than supply chain issues and cybersecurity threats.

Our own research, the Global Knowledge 2021 IT Skills and Salary Report, which looks more broadly at the challenge confirms IT skills gaps are real, and organizations are struggling to fill them. For the past 16 years, Global Knowledge has conducted a comprehensive study of IT Skills and Salaries. Studying trends in depth for so long provides a unique perspective on IT skills and how we as an industry are progressing.

This year’s study uncovered some uncomfortable truths.

THE SKILLS GAP HAS INCREASED 145% SINCE 2016

Three out of four IT decision-makers on a global scale are reporting gaps in IT staff skills. That’s a 145% increase since 2016 — and that’s creating a lot of angst for organizations feeling the pinch. Increases in stress, project duration, and operating costs, as well as decreased quality and ability to meet business objectives are the unfortunate consequences of gaps in IT skills. Analyst firm IDC reports that by 2022, IT skills gaps will result in monetary losses of $775 billion. Organizations need to address this growing and very real concern.

37% OF IT-DECISION MAKERS REPORT THEIR ORGANIZATIONS DOSEN’T OFFER FORMAL TRAINING TO KEEP SKILLS UPDATED

Thirty-seven percent of IT decision-makers report their organization does not provide employees formal training to keep their skills up to date. Employees are having to informally learn new skills to help the organization achieve its goals.

40% OF IT STAFF ARE FEELING A WORKLOAD SQUEEZE

Covid-19 had little bearing on IT job security. 80% of IT professionals report feeling extremely or somewhat good about job security. That is good news. Unfortunately, it comes with a cost. Nearly 40% of IT staff feel their workload is a big challenge.

MORE THAN 50% OF IT DECISION MAKERS HAVE AT LEAST ONE POSITION THEY HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO FILL

Organizations are challenged with filling open positions. Fifty-four percent of IT decision-makers report they’ve been unable to fill one or two positions, 38% report having three or four unfilled positions. This results in excessive workloads for existing employees, unfulfilled duties, or both. The main reasons: organizations cannot attract candidates with the necessary skills nor afford the salary demands — and there simply aren’t enough qualified candidates.

ATTRACTING AND RETAINING TALENT REQUIRES HIGHER SALARIES

IT professionals are collecting bigger paychecks, indicating that those with the right skills and experience are more essential than ever. Average salaries were up across almost every region. Fifty-two percent of IT professionals reported receiving a raise this past year. The leading factor was job performance. It also signals organizations are having to pay higher salaries to attract and retain talent in critical areas such as cloud, security, and data

Don’t feel disheartened. While skills gaps are a challenge, our study also surfaced proven ways to close them.

TRAINING YOUR EMPLOYEES IS KEY TO TALENT RETENTION

Investing in employee development closes skills gaps and aids in retaining top talent. IT decision-makers value certification. It’s listed as the top way to close organization skills gaps. In fact, nine out of ten managers have a plan in place to address skills gaps and over 50% believe the answer is training existing staff. It’s critical to remember, employees expect their employer to provide training. IT staff crave learning and development for personal growth — and if they’re not getting it from their current employer, they’ll move on. For the third year in a row, more than half of IT professionals reported that the lack of learning and development is the main reason for changing employers, and an increase in compensation was second. IT decision-makers need to evaluate investing in the professional growth of their IT departments before it’s too late.

5% INCREASE IN CERTIICATIONS OVER LAST YEAR

NInety-two percent of IT professionals who participated in the survey reported holding at least one certification. That’s a five percent increase over last year. Increases in salary, new job offers, and overall improvements in the quality of work were all cited as benefits that are a direct result of additional training in the IT world

CERTIFIED EMPLOYEES DRIVE $10,000+ IN ANNUAL VALUE AND FEEL MORE ENGAGED

Certification is an important vehicle to validate one’s knowledge and skills in a specific domain. Nearly half of those surveyed saw an improvement in their work post certification. Almost as many reported feeling more engaged in their work and/or faster at performing their jobs. Sixty-four percent of IT decision-makers say certified employees deliver $10,000 or more in additional annual value compared to non-certified employees. Clearly, time and money invested in certification training have a positive effect on an organization’s bottom line, even though 10% of IT staff report that management do not see a benefit to training or do not approve it

We’ve reported here some of the big takeaways in the report that impact us all, there is a clear and urgent need to act. We invite you to dig into additional details by reading the 2021 GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE IT SKILLS AND SALARY REPORT. We hope this information provides you inspiration and a roadmap for action.

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