Survey reveals returning budget increases but lack of women in IT

Research from Harvey Nash finds more CIOs are confident of budget increases, but reveals a lack of women in the technology sector

CIOs say they are more confident in securing an increase in their budgets now than at any time in the last five years, according to the CIO Technology Survey 2012 by Harvey Nash.

The survey, in association with TelecityGroup, found 44% of CIOs saw a budget increase this year, a jump from 39% in 2011 and 28% in 2010.

Harvey Nash questioned 2,400 CIOs and technology leaders in 20 countries and found that, despite continued economic uncertainty, the rapid growth in mobile applications and digital media has ensured the role of the CIO in 2012 is still a crucial one.

Over half (58%) of CIOs said they are actively promoting the development of solutions for smartphones and tablets such as iPads, as digital media remains firmly on their agenda.

Michael Tobin, chief executive officer of Telecity Group, said: “As boards look ahead seeking new ways to grow and innovate in an increasingly complex data-rich world, the role of the CIO takes on greater importance and increasing responsibility. 

“We are seeing the DNA of IT leaders changing as they become more representative of their internal and external customers. It is a very exciting time to be a CIO.”

Fixing the skills shortage

However, the results of the survey found here is still growing concern over the impact of a skills shortage and the lack of female talent in the technology sector.

Some 47% believed a skills shortage is preventing CIOs from keeping up with the pace of change. A landslide 93% of the CIOs questioned were male – the same figure from five years before.

Over a third of respondents admitted to having no women in technology or leadership roles in their company. Furthermore, 81% said less than a quarter said their management roles were filled by women.

Albert Ellis, chief executive officer of Harvey Nash Group, said attracting more women to technology is a challenge for technology companies and IT departments around the world.  

He added: “Traditionally, all forms of engineering have suffered from an image problem. In the past, female graduates have not aspired to be tech geeks and a career in IT has not been seen as attractive. Technology companies and groups will miss out in the future and this makes the skills shortage even more acute.

“However, such high-profile marketplace developments like the up and coming Facebook IPO will draw attention to the enormous potential offered by careers in technology and I am confident young people, of both genders, faced with a challenging jobs market particularly in Europe, will increasingly aspire to be part of the growing success of the technology sector worldwide.”

Outsourcing the role of CIO

The survey also found that almost half (46%) plan to increase their spend on outsourcing this year. This figure was 45% last year and 36% in 2010.  

Tobin added: “There is a clear link between the higher value outsourced activity, like software development and data centre management, and the skills shortage experienced by CIOs. As CEOs demand their teams prepare for growth, CIOs have to find the skilled resources to meet the demand from the business and the wider market.

“Those who want to retain their competitive advantage have engaged reliable outsourcing partners who can step into the breach to ensure projects add value and are delivered within time and budget expectations.”

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