66% of IT decision-makers struggling with skills gaps

Skillsoft, a leading platform for transformative learning experiences, today released its 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report exploring the most in-demand skills and certifications, average compensation, growth opportunities and career sentiment amongst IT professionals. Comprising insights from nearly 8,000 respondents, the report reveals that 66% of IT decision-makers see skills gaps in their teams. While still a considerable challenge, this represents a 10% decrease from last year. However, the industry is facing another pressing challenge centered around talent attrition, with more than half (53%) of all respondents extremely or somewhat likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months. 

Over the past year, the workplace has been defined by employee-led “movements,” namely the Great Resignation and “quiet quitting.” Meanwhile, the pace of digital transformation and lack of enough technical resources have pushed many IT professionals to a point of burnout. Together, these trends are fuelling record rates of talent turnover across all industries. Skillsoft’s report found that IT leaders’ two biggest challenges are employee retention and recruitment. Thus, organisations must take proactive steps to shift their cultures to ensure employees feel fulfilled, engaged, and motivated. 

More companies continue to realise the outsized need they have for technical skills in order to scale their operation, deliver new experiences to employees and/or customers, and transform the way they do business. As this realisation sets in, it adds fuel to an already hot labor market.This situation has forced many in leadership to reassess what’s possible and begin charting a new course. 

“Learning is the catalyst for mutually beneficial growth for employees and employers, especially as organisations struggle to retain technical talent and keep pace with innovation,” said Zach Sims, General Manager, Tech & Dev, Skillsoft. “Companies that create cultures of learning and talent development will be most successful in recruiting and retaining ambitious individuals with the right skills and certifications to make an impact. This culture not only supports individual employee growth – which is something IT professionals are actively seeking – but also leads to better business outcomes that propel organizations forward.” 

Among IT professionals that changed employers in the past year, their top three reasons for leaving were better compensation, a lack of training and development, and a lack of work-life balance, respectively. Meanwhile, the top cited inhibitor to training is that management doesn’t see a need for it. This is despite 97% of IT decision-makers saying certified staff add value to the organization. With IT professionals seeing numerous benefits after training including improved quality of work (56%), increased engagement (41%), and faster job performance (36%), organisations that invest in their people can expect to see significant ROI both to the bottom line and with employee retention. 

Additional takeaways from Skillsoft’s 2022 IT Skills and Salary Report include:

Despite improvement, IT skills gaps still weigh heavy on IT decision-makers’ minds.

80% say skills gaps pose high or medium risk to their team’s ability to meet objectives.

63% have been unable to fill at least three positions in the last year.

The top factors driving skills gaps are difficulties with hiring skilled candidates (44%) and employee retention (33%). 26% say not enough is being invested into training. 

The top three most challenging areas to find qualified talent are cloud computing, data analytics/big data/data science, and cybersecurity.

Positively, 59% expect a budget increase in the next year (up from 35% in 2021), with the top skill areas of investment being cloud computing, security, and AI and machine learning. 

IT professionals are hungry for knowledge. Power skills are increasingly critical.  

86% have taken some form of training in the last year. The top three reasons for doing so are to prepare the organization for new technology upgrades, earn a salary increase, and as a personal choice or interest to upskill. 61% of organizations offer a leadership development program. Team communication, interpersonal communication, and emotional intelligence were cited as the most important power skills to build. As power and professional skills rise in importance in the IT industry, one-in-four have opted into this type of training in the last year. 

What can sometimes stand in their way is management (even more than their heavy workload). In fact, 45% say management doesn’t see the value of training.

Knowing the importance they place on learning development plays a big part in solving retention issues. Among the leading reasons IT professionals leave their current position or employer is due to a lack of professional development opportunities.

DEI efforts in the IT industry are improving, but there is still work to be done.

75% of respondents say their organization takes diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) seriously, and 74% feel comfortable expressing their opinions at work. 

Still, roughly 25% have experienced microaggressions, harassment, and/or discrimination in the workplace. 

Exploring employees’ feelings about how management is addressing DEI challenges, 43% of non-management IT staff say they are recruiting diverse talent. But, only 19% see them setting and measuring DEI goals and objectives and just 17% say they are providing mentorship, coaching, or executive sponsorship. 

“While the IT industry continues to face a multitude of challenges, they are by no means insurmountable,” added Orla Daly, Chief Information Officer, Skillsoft. “Our report shows quite a few positives, especially in the value of tapping into employees’ desire for upskilling and growth. With deliberate planning focused on creating transformative learning experiences, we, as an industry, can not only solve for today’s skills gaps, but also create a sustainable workforce aligned to future skill needs.” 

Skillsoft

Skillsoft delivers transformative learning experiences that propel organisations and people to grow together. The Company partners with enterprise organisations and serves a global community of learners to prepare today’s employees for tomorrow’s economy.

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