Skills gap a growing concern across technology industry  

Skills gap a growing concern across technology industry  

The skills gap is a growing concern amongst IT professionals as the industry struggles to find a rapid solution. Cloudreach, an Atos company, has revealed that more than 70% of IT leaders internationally saw the skills gap as an urgent concern. Furthermore, a recent survey by BT shows insurmountable barriers to reskilling are leaving UK employees feeling trapped on their career path.

Cloudreach, an Atos company and a leading multi-cloud services provider, has released new data highlighting the latest cloud technology trends, underscoring the impact the cloud skills gap is having on businesses. More than 70% of surveyed IT leaders internationally saw the skills gap as an urgent concern. More than half of respondents claimed it either slowed them down (46%) or posed an existential crisis to the company (9%).

The data was published in an IDC Infobrief ‘How to be a Digital Leader in 2022’ commissioned by Cloudreach and Amazon Web Services (AWS), ultimately supporting the Atos OneCloud strategic initiative. The research also delves into cloud technology’s present and expanding role in supporting business growth and sustainability efforts.

As more organisations rush to adopt cloud technology to improve efficiency and sustainability, the report shines a light on how the industry needs more skilled professionals than ever to maintain operations. Business leaders are finding that their cloud transformation initiatives are increasingly hampered by a lack of skilled professionals, with 34% of respondents explaining that the shortage has reduced their ability to operate and launch services.

Low supply of cloud skills is also hitting innovation, causing high staff turnover and wage inflation. Multi-cloud capabilities, cloud system development and cloud governance were the top three areas most impacted by the skills gap, according to respondents.

“This research confirms that there is a shortage of cloud talent today, threatening cloud transformation projects that are essential to business survival,” said Brooks Borcherding, CEO, Cloudreach. “Talented architects and engineers are vital to delivering on the promise of cloud for businesses and the opportunities are huge for their careers. This skills gap poses a challenge for organisations to find new ways of recruiting, hiring and upskilling talent; including removing barriers of entry that have historically limited diversity within the industry.

“Businesses recognise the importance of cloud infrastructure to help them grow and become more effective and this study confirms the demand for cloud services continues to grow,” said Vittorio Sanvito, Director of EMEA Partner Development at AWS. “That is why we are working so hard to help close the skills gap in EMEA and worldwide with our partners like Cloudreach and Atos. AWS has also made a commitment to help 29 million people around the world grow their tech skills with free cloud computing training by 2025. We are bringing more people into professional cloud careers and increasing the diversity of the cloud workforce.”

And as the nation’s workforce is undergoing radical transformation, the ‘great resignation’ signals a thirst for change. For new and existing industries, this trend is exacerbating both already well established and emerging skills gaps.

A survey by BT has revealed that, given the opportunity, 69% of people would reskill and work in a different specialism, with technology (18%), health (17%) and finance (10%) topping the list of sectors that people wished they could switch to.

Many employed UK adults dream of changing their situation, as nearly a quarter (22%) of the UK’s workforce have revealed they’re unhappy in their current job role, while almost half (42%) feel trapped in their current field of work with no clear way to change their career path.

However, research shows the barriers to gaining the skills needed to make a change are too great, leaving Brits feeling left on the shelf. Over a third (31%) believe they are too old to learn new skills, (28%) say the uncertainty of getting a foot in the door of a new industry is their biggest worry and (24%) said they can’t afford to take time off to study and get the necessary accreditations for their dream role.

Yet, while employees are looking to challenge themselves with new skills and responsibilities, nearly one in 10 (8%) fear that their current role would be put at risk if their company knew they were interested in other work. That doubles (19%) among young people (18-24 year olds) who also say their greatest barrier to retraining is that they don’t know how to change their situation (39%).

BT recently launched a first-of-a-kind 16-week reskilling programme, in collaboration with CAPSLOCK, to help tackle the shortfall of people with cybersecurity skills and continue its commitment to investing in its people. The initiative will see BT employees from across its Consumer and Global divisions supported as they make bold changes to their career path through being reskilled and placed into crucial cybersecurity roles, all while keeping their pay cheque.

However, despite the strong job stability and career path that cybersecurity offers, BT’s research suggests more needs to be done in relation to awareness and perceptions of the industry. Before being told more about the sector, only 4% of UK adults would consider cyber as an alternative industry if they were to retrain; this reduces to as little as 1% for people who identify as females.

When asked to describe a cybersecurity professional, over half (54%) said male, compared to (18%) female. In addition, 39% of people said they imagined someone with a bachelors degree or above. The perception of the job is that it’s too technical (32%), with little understanding of how valuable other soft skills could be applicable (45%).

The perception that new and evolving fields of work require expert technical skills to do well can put off potential employees who want to make a change to their career path. CAPSLOCK’s mission in partnership with BT is to change that perception because they believe with the right attitude, determination and support, anybody – no matter their experience, education or age – has the potential to start a career in IT, technology, or cybersecurity.

Jamie, a former call centre Team Leader and one of 30 BT employees that have started the 16-week online course, said: “I’d never even considered a role in cybersecurity before discussing the reskilling programme with a colleague. I never went to university so I didn’t feel like I had the right educational background and couldn’t imagine how I’d get my foot in the door of a job like this. Being able to reskill and make that jump to futureproof my career is a chance to reach my full potential.”

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