Skillsoft has released its latest annual report exploring skills gaps, training and development, compensation, and job satisfaction in the IT industry.
The Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report is based on responses from more than 9,300 IT professionals globally. It found that 76% of IT decision-makers worldwide (73% across APAC) face critical skills gaps in their departments, a 145% increase since 2016. And while still a significant challenge, it represents the second consecutive year of slight improvement globally (79% in 2019, 78% in 2020).
In response to the shortage, IT professionals in APAC are now paid on average NZD $9,129 or 10.2% more than one year ago - the most significant jump of any region. Apart from executive and sales roles, the higher-paying positions are in cloud, risk management, security, and IT project management.
"Today's digital-first economy has presented significant opportunities for organisations," says Skillsoft general manager, Technology - Developer, Michael Yoo.
"However, it's also created a dire need for new skills in cloud computing, cybersecurity, AI, DevOps, and many other critical tech areas. Gaps in skills don't just disappear, and they only grow wider if not properly addressed. While it is encouraging to see early signs of closing the gap, work is far from done," he says.
"Organisations must place a bigger emphasis on investing in employee training, empowering professionals to earn new certifications, and filling vacant roles with diverse candidates."
Understanding the reasons behind the skills gap and its impact is critical to continue closing it, says Skillsoft. As digital transformation accelerates, 38% of IT decision-makers cite the primary driver of the skills gap as the rate of technology change outpacing their existing skills' development programs. This is followed by difficulty attracting qualified candidates (35%) and a lack of investment in training resources (32%).
In addition to the direct effect these gaps have on an organisations' bottom lines - IDC predicts the financial impact growing to USD $6.5 trillion worldwide by 20251 - respondents also say they increase employee stress (55%), make it difficult to meet quality and business objectives (42% and 36%, respectively), and create project delays (35%), among other challenges.
Organisations are increasingly recognising the role that professional development plays in combatting skills gaps and raising employee morale and retention, with 56% of IT decision-makers worldwide saying they have a plan to train existing team members. Given that 80% of IT professionals report a myriad of benefits after achieving new skills and certifications, including improved quality of work (49%), higher levels of engagement (32%), and faster job performance (27%), Skillsoft says providing upskilling opportunities is a win-win for both organisations and employees alike.
Some additional takeaways from the report include:
- IT staff crave learning and development and will move on if they are not getting it.
- For the third consecutive year, respondents that switched employers within the past year cited a lack of growth and development opportunities as their top reason for doing so (59%), taking precedence over better compensation (39%) and work/life balance (31%).
- When training, 66% of respondents say they prefer a formal, instructor-led approach, while the remaining third gravitate toward informal, peer-to-peer methods, underscoring the value of providing personalised and blended learning experiences.
- More IT professionals are certified than ever and are boosting the bottom line.
- 92%of APAC respondents say they have at least one certification.
- 64% of IT decision-makers globally say certified employees deliver USD $10,000 or more in added value than non-certified team members, demonstrating the positive impact investment in training has on organisations' bottom lines.