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IT skill shortage to impact 90% of companies by 2026

A growing IT skills shortage is impacting organizations in all industries and across all regions. In a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) survey of North American IT leaders, nearly two thirds said that a lack of skills has resulted in missed revenue growth objectives, quality problems, and a decline in customer satisfaction. And the situation is not expected to get any better. IDC predicts that by 2026, more than 90% of organizations worldwide will feel the pain of the IT skills crisis, amounting to some $5.5 trillion in losses caused by product delays, impaired competitiveness, and loss of business.

While it’s no surprise that artificial intelligence (AI) skills are currently the most in-demand skill for most enterprises, IT Operations are a close second. And a variety of cloud skills, including architecture, data management and storage, and software development, are among the ten most needed skills identified by survey respondents. This situation is further compounded by the need for additional, non-technical skills, such as digital business skills, human skills, and leadership skills.

“Getting the right people with the right skills into the right roles has never been so difficult,” says Gina Smith, PhD, research director for IDC’s IT Skills for Digital Business practice. “As IT skills shortages widen and the arrival of new technology accelerates, enterprises must find creative ways to hire, train, upskill, and reskill their employees. A culture of learning is the single best way to get there.”

Among the challenges organizations face when trying to expand the skills of their employees is resistance to training. Employees complain that the courses are too long, the options for learning are too limited, and there isn’t enough alignment between skills and career goals.

To overcome these challenges, IT leaders need to employ a variety of strategies to encourage a more effective learning environment within their organization. This includes everything from classroom training to hackathons, hand’s on labs, and games, quests, and mini-badges. 70% of survey respondents indicated that they are already utilizing experiential learning methods, which includes labs, games, and hackathons. And generative AI (GenAI) has also found its way into the current training environment, with more than half the organizations surveyed using or piloting it for IT training.

But fostering a positive learning environment in an organization requires more than just materials, courses, and challenges. Culture change begins at the top and leaders need to demonstrate why learning matters to the organization. This can be done by aligning employee goals with business goals, promoting continuous learning throughout the employee’s journey, and creating a rewards program that recognizes process as well as performance. It also requires the allocation of adequate time, money, and people resources.

CT Bureau

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