Lack of IT Professionals Creates A Major Career Shortage Gap

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Feb 16, 2021

Feb 16, 2021 • by Rebecca Smith

Numerous surveys highlight the growing shortage of skilled IT professionals in the United States. According to Robert Half Technology’s State of U.S. Tech Hiring report, 87% of IT executives reported that it was challenging to find skilled professionals in today’s landscape. 

Another global report from LinkedIn and Capgemini, The Digital TalentGap - Are Companies Doing Enough?, found that 70% of respondents agreed that the tech talent gap was widening. Top priorities include cybersecurity, cloud security, cloud computing, and cloud architecture.

From banking to retail to healthcare, every industry requires IT expertise to ensure longevity and healthy business processes. Case in point: cyber threats are growing at an alarming rate, and even small businesses are falling victim to malware attacks. Businesses of all sizes rely on information technology to protect their companies and help them scale. 

The spiking IT skills shortage and skills gap will continue to affect the US economy for years to come if it isn’t addressed soon. Yet, the terminology between skills gap and skills shortage can be confusing. Both describe similar but distinct challenges that impact the global information technology industry. 

However, the terms “skill gap” and “skill shortage” cannot be used interchangeably. A tech skill shortage describes a situation where qualified tech personnel are difficult to find. A skills gap describes a situation where an existing skill set for a particular position differs from the skill set required to perform the duties required of them in that position. 

For instance, a software developer who understands programming languages may not understand the DevOps methodology or the tools and platforms that support it. Experienced IT professionals adept at phased out programming languages like Objective-C illustrate another common case of the IT skills gap. 

A survey conducted by KPMG and CIO discovered that the tech skills shortage is greater than it’s been since 2008. Other reports have unveiled a global lack of cybersecurity specialists particularly. The bottom line is, the tech industry is growing at a consistent pace, and the tech labor market isn’t adequate to meet that demand. 

Forward-thinking companies understand the impact that the tech skill shortage and skills gap will have on their bottom line. Now more than ever, it’s essential for businesses to focus on retaining their talent and tackling the shortage crisis head-on. To close the growing gap between the number of IT jobs available and the number of professionals available to fill them, upskilling and reskilling existing workforces is critical. 

Upskilling is the process of helping individuals advance existing skills. For instance, cloud infrastructure and IT are synonymous with one another and have become increasingly important. Tech companies need to upskill or reskill existing employees in cloud infrastructure by offering the resources needed to help the company grow in that division. 

As competition for cloud computing heats up; Microsoft, Amazon and IBM area already positioned for market dominance. IT professionals should not only consider the macro environment for the space, but also certifications and continuing education to further their careers. This article on Microsoft Azure vs. Amazon AWS certifications compares providers for enterprise level cloud computing; and how it can be used to leverage existing technology operations. 

Reskilling focuses on providing non-technological individuals with the training necessary to perform in technical settings. This high-impact method can be instrumental for individuals seeking a way to advance professionally and for businesses who need more versatile, tech-trained workforces. For example, a travel agent might be reskilled to assist a travel startup in a data analytics role. Coaching, training, and mentoring are important aspects of an effective reskilling program. 

Infosys, an information technology consulting company, launched its Reskill & Restart program to fulfill employment needs and reskill the American workforce. The program focuses on data and cloud technology. 

“We are excited to partner with leaders in the skills assessment, training, and apprenticeship space to leverage our Wingspan platform and provide opportunities for Americans to grow their skills and find relevant employment opportunities,” Ravi Kumar, Infosys president said in a press statement. “We are intensely focused on creating job opportunities in the U.S., and this solution demonstrates our broader commitment to American workers and the U.S. economy.”

Businesses aren’t just seeking IT professionals with strong resumes; they’re also looking for well-rounded professionals with balanced soft skills. LinkedIn’s Digital Talent Gap report found that there was also a widening gap in soft digital skills such as passion for learning, comfort with ambiguity, or customer-centricity.

The top preferred destinations for digital talent include the United States, Germany, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Data shows that for every 10 digitally skilled Americans that migrate to another country, 16 enter the country. And yet, America has one the largest talent gaps in the world. 

Moving forward, businesses need to leverage remote work programs to identify state-wide talent while simultaneously focusing on internal training and support. Company culture will also play a critical role in a business’s ability to retain their talent as the skills shortage closes.