The widening skills gaps within organizations’ workforces presents an opportunity for channel partners with the right skills and expertise to help fill this void.
That’s according to CompTIA’s new report, “Assessing the IT Skills Gap,” based on data collected through an online survey of 600 business and technology executives. Nearly half of respondents believe skills shortcomings within their organizations have grown during the past two years.
Amy Carrado, CompTIA’s senior director of research and market intelligence, tells Channel Partners that channel companies that offer consultative services to their customer may want to consider adding a customer training regimen to their portfolio. The broader use of technology by all types of businesses has created the need for more IT experts, she said.
“The complexity of today’s solutions and services has also solidified the need for outside IT expertise,” she said. “Both technical and business-related training is crucial to the channel’s future. As more companies eye emerging technologies, technical training for their employees will be paramount. Traditional technical roles will continue to exist, but newer job roles are becoming more common. Data scientists, cloud systems engineers, marketing technologist(s) and Internet of Things (IoT) architects are just a few examples. Organizations testing the waters with these emerging technologies and others face even greater skills gaps due to the fast-moving nature of these innovations. It takes time for training materials to reach the market and for opportunities to gain hands-on experience to arise.”
Skills gaps are not confined to technology alone, according to the survey. Executives also reported skills issues in areas such as marketing, sales and business development, operations, customer service, and accounting and finance.
The consequences of workforce skills gaps can affect many areas, including lower staff productivity, lower sales and profitability, delays in bringing new products and services to market, and losing ground to competitors.
Only one in three organizations has a formal process and resources in place to address their skills gap challenges, according to CompTIA. The remaining companies report having only an informal process or no process at all in place. More than half of organizations said they’re struggling to identify and assess the skills gaps that exist among their workforce.
“Technology holds an expanding place in determining business success or failure,” Carrado said. “The rapid evolution of technology shows no sign of abating. These factors alone attest to why it’s an immediate necessity for companies to identify and address workforce skills gaps regardless of size or industry. Gaps in skills not only hold a business back from achieving further success, but negative impacts also are seen in key business areas by 94 percent of organizations.”
When asked about strategies for addressing skills gap challenges within the workforce pipeline, companies emphasized the need for better approaches for candidates to gain work experience and on-the-job training. The top five strategies cited include: better ways to provide on-the-job experience, such as internships; better ways to provide intense job training, such as apprenticeships; early student exposure to careers in IT; certifications and credentials to validate skills and knowledge; and better assessments and methods for evaluating the skills of job candidates.
Greg Richey, Ingram Micro’s director of professional training and services, said the IT skills gap presents a challenge and an opportunity for the IT channel.
“The call to action is three-fold,” he said. “No. 1, ensure your services business is ready to meet the unmet challenges within your customers’ and prospects’ organizations. No. 2, continue to invest in your people, processes and partnerships to ensure you are constantly learning and leading. No. 3, change the conversation with your customers and prospects to ferret out the challenges and opportunity within and lay the groundwork to address them and add more value to the business.”
According to a recent survey by Janco Associates, IT salaries moved upward during the first half of 2017, with the median salary increasing from $82,775 to $87,175.