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The IT Skill Shortage: Why Leaders Need an Immediate Action Plan?
The IT Skill Shortage: Why Leaders Need an Immediate Action Plan?

In today's competitive business environment, having access to skilled workers is a major differentiator between thriving and struggling businesses. This disparity will widen in the coming data-driven future, with as many as 85 million vacant jobs predicted by 2030, according to the New Korn Ferry report. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will likely exacerbate existing skill disparities in all sectors of the economy. The nature of the occupations that need to be done, as well as the abilities required to accomplish them, are rapidly evolving due to breakthroughs in Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, and other emerging technologies, and these changes are taking place in ever shorter cycles.

It's Not Just A Recruitment Problem

The lack of qualified IT workers threatens both global innovation and the economy. Though business leaders may be tempted to ignore this situation, for the time being, doing so will only lead to more serious issues in the future. Tech behemoths like Apple, Facebook, and Google tend to scoop up the scarce tech talent, exacerbating the problem. Companies that aren't among the world's largest IT corporations have a harder time competing for top IT talent because they lack the resources of the industry's tech giants. Because of staffing constraints, IT departments may have to prioritize the most essential tasks only to keep the lights on, rather than exploring new avenues for improvement. Even while these companies aren't as tech-driven as Amazon, Apple, or Google, they're still huge economic drivers.

Why Are Businesses Experiencing an IT Skill Shortage?

With the emphasis on innovation in today's business environment, the software has become increasingly important as the glue that binds together the different aspects of a business. As software now underpins every aspect of business, the need for highly trained professionals in this field has skyrocketed in recent years.

Businesses of all sizes and in all industries rely on software for a wide range of operations, from customer relationship management and workflow coordination to inventory and supply chain management to marketing automation and lead nurturing. This led to a huge demand for tech experts who can keep up with the industry's rapid evolution.

However, the true issue isn't the rising demand graph, but rather the scary reality that demand is outstripping supply, leading to a global tech skills shortage across industries.

In addition to this, other elements contributing to the current IT skill shortages are:

  • Not enough effort is being put into providing a solid STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education.
  • The rise in the percentage of workers in Gen X who are leaving the workforce, either to retire or for other reasons.
  • Inability to utilize cutting-edge technologies due to a dearth of skilled professionals.
  • Many skilled IT personnel prefer to work for industry giants like Facebook, Google, IBM, and others, making it harder for smaller businesses to compete for them.
  • Employee reluctance to acquire new skills is another barrier that prevents businesses from hiring qualified IT staff. Consequently, human resource managers and learning and development leaders struggle to fill positions requiring expertise in cutting-edge fields such as machine learning, cyber security, data science, and others.

Best practices for addressing IT skill shortage

Most companies have initiatives underway to fill the IT skill shortage and keep their employees at peak performance, but are these the best approaches? There is no silver bullet for bridging the skills gap, and even those that are extremely effective for some positions are not suitable for other difficult-to-fill positions. The following are some considerations businesses may take to address the growing IT skill shortage:

  1. Diversify Your Workforce's Technological Skills

    Hiring new personnel is one way to fill the IT skill shortage, but it has its own challenges. To get the most out of your time and money spent on recruitment, build a diversified talent pool. Diverse teams with members from all walks of life, varying degrees of experience and education, and a wide range of perspectives can better tackle complex technological issues.

    Accelerating employees' exposure to real-world situations is another strategy. Upskilling & Cross-skilling existing staff members' skills is safer and more efficient than seeking new hires. Experiential learning is unparalleled. Skill retention is likely to increase if the diverse & enthusiastic workforce is exposed to complex technical and business problems and given the chance to learn from and apply their experiences in solving them. To equip your staff with the latest skills, host interactive L&D sessions on design thinking, problem simulations, soft skills, and management training – Experiential learning is unparalleled.

    Both approaches can help your company increase its technical prowess and speed up the adoption and implementation of new digital innovations.

  2. Foster Agility Among Your Workforce

    Traditional firms may need to rearrange their IT to introduce agility in how individuals and teams achieve business goals. Allow employees to self-manage and embrace technologies to minimize silos across teams. This technique streamlines collaboration and coordination among the heterogeneous workforce, allowing IT professionals to apply various expertise to standardized procedures. It is very important to create a feedback loop where the conversations flow.

    For IT to be successful, it must first determine the business goals and how it can best help the company achieve those. It is recommended that business leaders pinpoint the cultural, process, and management roadblocks that could be stifling their organization's agility, and then work to remove those obstacles.

  3. Gain a Solid Understanding of Business Practices

    IT should understand how their roles and contributions effect the company and end-user experience when technology is central to business. IT may benefit even more with an understanding of the ever-shifting dynamics of the domestic and global business landscape if it employs this knowledge in the development of solutions or business use cases that serve to distinguish the company from its rivals.

    A visionary IT leader will collaborate with top management to help the firm constantly adjust and refocus its efforts to better achieve its objectives. While IT’s primary role is to solve the technical issues that plague a company, IT professionals are often in a prime position to suggest novel solutions for regular mundane problems. Because of their efforts, the company might save money on outside contractors who might not fully grasp its inner workings, culture, or influence on business or end-users.

  4. Emphasis on Creative Thinking and Problem-Solving

    The skills shortage typically relates to the ability of the workforce to address technical and business challenges. Technical engineering challenges require innovation and strong ideation more than past knowledge. This requirement is not restricted to recent college grads in the fields of STEM. Experienced personnel or learners who attend fewer seminars and training programs might improve their creativity, ideation, and problem-solving capabilities. Organizations must provide members with access to customized L&D training programs, enabling lifelong learning and establishing progressive career options for everybody.

    Hiring new team members with the required technical expertise is only part of the IT skill shortage solution. CXOs must identify business requirements linked with the talent gap, analyze the existing workforce, and understand how the future technology landscape will change IT skills and talent expectations. Onboarding the right personnel may not always be clear, inexpensive, or risk-free, but a deliberate approach may lead to other beneficial solutions.

  5. Embrace Automation

    Automation helps to prevent and alleviate staffing issues by enhancing the employee experience. Everyone in your organization should be able to benefit from the technology you've implemented. With automation, you can streamline your IT processes and put your most skilled people to work on things that really matter, like innovation and making a positive impact. Provide them with the resources they need by implementing IT solutions that automate routine processes, eliminate silos, and encourage teamwork. Spending less time on administrative duties enhances the quality of work life for employees and streamlines processes like debugging, application resource allocation, and incident resolution.

Final Thought

The lack of skilled IT professionals is a real threat to any firm today, as every business relies on some form of technology to function. With this ability, digital firms may compete more effectively with established businesses in more conventional sectors by attracting and retaining highly educated and trained workforce. However, when technological companies expand, a lack of available talent becomes a major obstacle. To achieve their scalability goals, businesses must compete for expertise as the skills gap continues to expand as a result of incremental improvements to the technology that drives modern business. If you're looking to advance your initiatives but lack the requisite technical expertise, Qentelli team is here to help. All you have to do is send an email to [email protected]