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Post-Brexit IT talent shortages concern UK CIOs

Finding and training tech staff remains an issue and is set to get worse after the UK leaves the European Union, says Barclaycard study

Most UK chief information officers (CIOs) are worried that technology talent shortages will become worse after the UK leaves the European Union (EU), according to a new study by Barclaycard.

With continued uncertainty caused by Brexit delays, those in charge of IT are concerned about the impact these developments could have on their workforce. More than half (51%) of those polled said they were unsure if they would be able to find enough staff with the required technical expertise once the UK is out of the EU.

The unpredictable future status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals working across Europe, will have a corrosive effect on morale and retention, say experts. So being able to retain existing staff and attract new talent, access key emerging skills and manage the business as usual – and unusual – are key to the survival of organisations in this new scenario.

Brexit-related concerns aside, three-quarters (76%) of the CIOs surveyed are concerned about finding appropriate talent anyway, according to the Barclaycard report.

“Recruiting the best talent is always a priority for business leaders – but as our research shows, CIOs know it’s not enough to simply hire skilled individuals,” said Keith Little, chief information officer at Barclaycard. “To keep pace with the rapid technological change, tech leaders must be prepared to continually identify and address the skills gaps within their organisations.”

The need to continually upskill tech staff is also an important matter for CIOs, according to the research, with 78% of executives polled saying they faced concerns around ensuring that their teams continue to have the right knowledge, skills and experience.

Little said plugging organisations’ skills gap could involve setting up new ways of working to share knowledge across their business better, reviewing training programmes or bringing in fresh expertise as the company’s technology goals evolve.

“The good news is that most CIOs say their team is more diverse than five years ago – suggesting they are already taking steps to ensure they nurture a wider range of skills,” he added.

Read more about Brexit-related skills shortfall

Ensuring they have the right skills is seen as a key driver of business success by the CIOs surveyed, with seven in 10 (69%) rating the need to constantly train IT employees as critical or of high importance.

The report also suggested that organisations are seeking to have more diverse IT departments, with 64% of CIOs saying their team members have a wider range of backgrounds than they did five years ago, and seven out of 10 (70%) CIOs polled said they have more women in their teams.

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