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Talk about skills gaps is a constant conversation starter in the IT industry but it appears to be a topic shrouded in mystery for plenty of customers.
According to CompTIA not only do half of large firms and 44% of smaller businesses report a skills gap but the majority cannot identify the areas in their workforce where they are deficient.
The consequences are reduced productivity and innovation and lower sales and the skills gap is being felt most acutely in emerging technology and cyber security.
But there are worries across a wide spectrum, including cloud and IT support functions, and it is not just AI and IoT that is causing headaches.
Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO at CompTIA, said that the there was still a lot of work to be done to get a larger number of people entering the industry.
"The challenge is getting a consistent pipeline of people into the industry and that's the biggest challenge," he said.
The CompTIA research also threw up Brexit as a concern with some managers viewing it as a change that will make it harder to attract or hire international tech talent.
“UK businesses are becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of IT skills, particularly around emerging technologies and cybersecurity,” said Graham Hunter, VP EMEA at CompTIA. “It’s essential that we as an industry work to improve the pipeline of talent entering the workforce, starting with the education system and into the workplace with on-the-job training through programmes like apprenticeship schemes.”
Adding to the skills debate Ingram Micro Cloud released its own research that indicated that a quarter of millenials and centennials were worried about not having the required skills and qualifications to get on with their careers as their bosses started to roll out emerging technologies.
“In recent years, IT skills shortages have been a major topic as companies struggle to attract and retain qualified talent. As businesses continue their digital transformation journeys - actively investing in AI, machine learning and automation - failing to offer employees adequate skills training will be the factor that will either make or break them," said Matthew Sanderson, managing director UK&I at Ingram Micro.
He added that under 35s were more likely to be looking for jobs that would help them broaden their skills and they wanted to future proof their careers, which posed a challenge to employers.
“To ensure companies can remain competitive and retain their valuable talent, they need to adapt to the digital workplace, equipping employees with next-generation technology and relevant skills training that will set them apart from other contenders in the market," said Sanderson.
“Although this challenge is becoming increasingly difficult for organisations struggling to meet the demands of the modern workplace, it also creates many new opportunities for businesses, employees and channel partners to work together and strengthen their IT offerings. By investing in the right systems, products and services, businesses can remain competitive and retain valuable talent,” he added.