Skillsoft recently released its annual Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report, exploring the current state of skills gaps, training and development, compensation, and job satisfaction in the IT industry. Based on responses from more than 9,300 IT professionals globally, the report found that 76 percent of IT decision-makers worldwide (73 percent across APAC) are facing critical skills gaps in their departments – a 145 percent increase since 2016. While still a significant challenge, this represents the second consecutive year of slight improvement globally (79 percent in 2019, 78 percent in 2020).
In response to the shortage, IT professionals in APAC are now being paid on average $6,435 USD or 10.2 percent more compared to one year ago – the biggest jump of any region. Aside from executives and those in sales, the higher-paying positions are in the cloud, risk management, security, and IT project management. Additionally, 52 percent of respondents worldwide received a raise in the past year, attributing the increase to a variety of factors including job performance, developing new skills, and obtaining industry certifications.
“Today’s digital-first economy has presented significant opportunities for organizations. However, it has also created a dire need for new skills in cloud computing, cybersecurity, AI, DevOps, and many other critical tech areas,” said Michael Yoo, General Manager, Technology & Developer, Skillsoft. “Gaps in skills don’t just disappear, 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. Organizations must place a bigger emphasis on investing in employee training, empowering professionals to earn new certifications, and filling vacant roles with diverse candidates.”
To continue closing the skills gap, understanding the reasons behind it, and its impact, is critical. As digital transformation accelerates, 38 percent of IT decision-makers cited the rate of technology change outpacing their existing skills development programs as the primary driver of the skills gap, followed by difficulty in attracting qualified candidates (35 percent) and lack of investment in training resources (32 percent). In addition to the direct effect these gaps have on organizations’ bottom lines – IDC predicts the financial impact growing to $6.5 trillion worldwide by 2025 – respondents also said they increase employee stress (55 percent), making it difficult to meet quality and business objectives (42 percent and 36 percent, respectively), and create project delays (35 percent), among other challenges.
Of note, organizations are increasingly recognizing the role that professional development plays in combatting skills gaps and raising employee morale and retention, with 56 percent of IT decision-makers worldwide saying they have a plan in place to train existing team members. And, given that 80 percent of IT professionals report a myriad of benefits after achieving new skills and certifications – including improved quality of work (49 percent), higher levels of engagement (32 percent), and faster job performance (27 percent) – providing upskilling opportunities is a win-win for both organizations and employees alike.
Additional takeaways from the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary report include:
IT staff crave learning and development and will move on if they are not getting it.
More IT professionals are certified than ever and are boosting the bottom line.