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Firms will face a “war for talent” in the future as a result of the growing IT skills gap and increased digital adoption, according to research from Fujitsu.
The firm’s PACT report, launched at the 2017 Fujitsu Forum in Munich, found that 70% of firms believe there is a noticeable lack of digital skills – something that commonly stands in the way of firms attempting digital transformation.
Director and CEO, and executive vice-president and head of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India (EMEAIA) for Fujitsu, Duncan Tait, said employers will soon face a “competition for talent”, as they all begin to focus on the small number of people who have relevant science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) skills.
“As the world digitalises, there’s huge competition for people with Stem subjects. The whole world ends up aiming for the same group of people,” he said.
The digital skills gap is costing the UK economy £63bn a year, and many do not even have the basic digital skills needed to perform basic tasks such as shop online or apply for jobs.
Firms are not only finding it difficult to find the people with the technical skills they need, but also those with softer skills such as communication.
Tait said skills such as “creativity and the ability to deal with humans” will be important for digital recruitment in the future, and that designing an organisation’s culture will be “crucial” for attracting and retaining talent.
Having creative tech skills also reduces the risk of job automation in the future, with many believing that jobs that require more emotional intelligence will be harder to automate. Tait said people will continue to matter in the workplace, “even though automation threatens some existing workloads”.
Cyber security skills were among one of the biggest concerns for organisations trying to implement digital change, with 80% of firms saying a lack of skills was the main blocker for tackling cyber security events.
Due to the recent number of high-profile cyber attacks, securing customer data is becoming increasingly important to firms, with Tait saying: “Boards are taking [cyber] a lot more seriously now.”
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Fujitsu’s research found 33% of organisations had cancelled digital projects over the past two years and, in many cases, legacy systems stand in the way of transformation, with 72% of firms saying shadow IT is the only way to effectively implement innovation.
“We’re only at the start of what is digitally revolutionary. Although the changes are profound, you haven’t seen anything yet,” said Tait.
But these failures are costing organisations cash to the tune of €500,000 per project, and digital transformation shows no signs of slowing down.
More than 80% of firms believe their customers expect them to be more digital, with the public becoming more expectant of the technological world around them as technology begins to penetrate everyone’s lives.
Tait said digital is leading to “mass customisation” for individuals who are increasingly expecting personalised services. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that digital disruption is having an impact on the world. It is probably the theme of the 21st century,” he added.