Gartner survey reveals over half of CIOs plan to increase full-time IT employees in 2021

Gartner survey reveals over half of CIOs plan to increase full-time IT employees in 2021

Fifty-five percent of CIOs plan to increase their total number of full-time employees (FTEs) in IT across the course of 2021, according to a recent survey from Gartner. They will predominantly focus staffing growth in the areas of automation, cloud and analytics platforms and support for remote work.

“The critical role IT played across most firms’ response to the pandemic appears to have had a positive impact on IT staffing plans,” said Matthew Charlet, Research Vice President at Gartner. “The initial pessimism around the 2021 talent situation that many CIOs expressed mid-2020 has since dwindled.”

Among the CIOs surveyed, the need to accelerate digital initiatives is, by a large margin, the primary factor driving IT talent strategies in 2021. This is followed by the automation of business operations and increase in cloud adoption.

Overall, CIOs are much more likely to expand FTEs in newer, more-emerging technology domains. Growth in security personnel is necessary to reduce the risks from significant investments in remote work, analytics and cloud platforms. Data centre, network, systems administration and applications maintenance are the most likely areas to see staffing decreases due to the shift towards cloud services.

“While CIOs plan to hire more staff in several areas critical to meeting changed consumer and employee expectations, most will not be able to meet their planned talent strategy goals without also upskilling or refocusing their existing teams,” said Charlet.

Darren Hedley, UK and Ireland Managing Director at Insight, said: “This is an encouraging sign for 2021 – especially considering that in 2020, 27% of enterprises downsized their IT teams in the wake of the pandemic. However, investment in skills by itself won’t be enough to accelerate digital initiatives. With digital transformation a priority across the board, many of these skills will be in high demand. Organisations need to be prepared to look for other ways of getting the skills they need to meet their ambitions, whether through training or outside support.

“At the same time, enterprises should use the opportunity to bring in new talent to address the disconnect which often exists between IT and the wider business. For instance, many organisations see IT as a simple utility rather than a strategic resource, and can fail to make use of new technologies because they aren’t taking IT’s advice. Using these new skills to ensure that digital initiatives are a success will help prove IT’s strategic value, and ensure the business is best positioned to face 2021 and beyond.”

The 2021 Gartner CIO Talent Planning Survey was conducted between November 2020 and December 2020 among 184 CIOs in North America, EMEA and APAC across industries, functions and company sizes.

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