IT Skills Shortage Threatens Global Business, IDC Survey Reveals

A growing shortage of IT skills is impacting organizations across all industries and regions, according to a recent survey by the International Data Corporation (IDC).
Job for IT professionalsNearly two-thirds of North American IT leaders reported that this skills gap has led to missed revenue growth targets, quality issues, and declining customer satisfaction. The situation is projected to worsen, with IDC predicting that by 2026, over 90 percent of organizations worldwide will experience the IT skills crisis, potentially resulting in $5.5 trillion in losses due to product delays, reduced competitiveness, and lost business.

While artificial intelligence (AI) skills are currently the most in-demand, IT operations skills are also highly sought after. Cloud-related skills, such as architecture, data management, storage, and software development, are among the top ten most needed skills identified by survey respondents. The demand for IT skills is further compounded by the need for additional non-technical skills, including digital business, human, and leadership skills.

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

Organizations face several challenges when expanding their employees’ skills, including resistance to training. Employees often complain that courses are too long, learning options are limited, and there is insufficient alignment between skills development and career goals.

To address these challenges, IT leaders need to implement various strategies to foster an effective learning environment within their organizations. These strategies include classroom training, hackathons, hands-on labs, games, quests, and mini-badges.

According to the survey, 70 percent of respondents are already utilizing experiential learning methods, such as labs, games, and hackathons. Additionally, more than half of the organizations surveyed are using or piloting generative AI (GenAI) for IT training.

Creating a positive learning culture requires more than just materials, courses, and challenges; it necessitates a top-down approach. Leaders must demonstrate the importance of learning to the organization by aligning employee goals with business objectives, promoting continuous learning throughout employees’ careers, and developing a rewards program that recognizes both progress and performance. Adequate time, financial resources, and personnel are also essential to support this cultural shift.

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