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Microsoft is taking the findings of some research it has undertaken around the topic of cloud skills shortages out to partners to urge them to plug the gap for customers and do more to tackle the diversity issue.
The software giant has found that although the vast majority of customers agree that cloud skills will be crucial for their efforts to undergo digital transformation many are struggling to find people with the right skills.
There appears to be some complacency about the challenge ahead with many expecting it to become easier to find personnel with the right skills, which goes against the reality of the current market.
Microsoft's research also discovered that many customers were keen to work with partners and would pay more for those that came with certifications and proven levels of expertise.
Glenn Woolaghan, partner business and development lead at Microsoft, said that there was a real opportunity for the channel to plug the skills gap but they also had to be aware of the difficulties getting hold of decent staff.
"There are concerns that companies that are also being complacent assuming there is going to be a raft of new people with skills and they are going to be disappointed," he said.
"There is an opportunity for the partners," he added "Customers are looking for resellers with the right certifications and they are prepared to spend more money."
Wollaghan did have a note for caution for resellers, who are also in competition for decent staff, pointing out that training had to be maintained.
"I would call out to those partners the need for constant incremental learning. With Azure issuing new features every 36 hours it is important you keep learning," he added.
One of the pools of talent that the industry could turn to is to encourage more diverse workforces. Microsoft's report found that the current mix of technical staff was 80% male and 20% female. Slighty more than a third of those firm's quizzed by the vendor stated they had no intention to change that situation.
"My concern is that it is not being recognised by partners," added Woolaghan "51% of the population is female and only 3% are seeing tech as a career choice. If we don't get females interested in tech then we won't address the skills gap."
• More than 80% of respondents think that having the right cloud skills will be important or critical to their digital transformation
• 38% of respondents who had been involved in recruiting people with cloud skills in the past 12 months said it was difficult to find the right skills
• The most common approach to meeting cloud skills needs is to train existing staff (60%). However, more than half (53%) expect to use external partners and almost half (46%) hope to recruit new people with cloud skills
• A majority say that formal cloud certifications are important (63%) when selecting partners to provide cloud-based consulting or services. Furthermore, when engaging staff for important cloud projects, almost half (48%) say they’d expect to pay more for resources with relevant cloud certifications