Nearly half (45 per cent) of UK businesses have productivity issues due to an “extensive” shortage of IT talent according to research by IT skills and training body CompTIA.
The International Technology Adoption and Workforce Trends Study surveyed more than 1,500 IT executives and found that 44 per cent of executives worry staff productivity is being negatively affected by digital skills gaps. Almost a third (30 per cent) of respondents said that insufficient skills are impacting on customer services, more than a quarter (27 per cent) said IT skills gaps are slowing speed to market and 26 per cent reported they are impeding innovation and new ideas.
In order to fill these skill gaps, 28 per cent of IT executives said that they plan to hire more IT staff this coming year, up from 14 per cent in 2014.
After skills shortages, cyber security is a top concern for UK businesses, with 63 per cent saying that the threat of cyber attacks is increasing. Nearly half blame human error, including a greater use of social media, for this rise.
The top technology priority for 58 per cent of businesses is spending more on IT security.
The head of BT Security Academy, Rob Partridge, called for the IT industry to look beyond university degrees and focus more on vocational qualifications such as online learning and apprenticeships.
Mike Brooman, director at IT consultancy Vanti, said his business has struggled to find skilled staff.
“With such a disruptive IT market, we fully appreciate it is difficult for the education sector to keep up with the pace of technological innovation on its own,” he told the HR Magazine. “We are testing a number of alternative hiring routes, including apprenticeships and industry certifications, so we can train people to our standards in-house rather than try to compete in an over-inflated and ill-equipped graduate market.”
UK director for member communities Estelle Johannes for CompTIA added: “The impact of the skills gap threatens the livelihood of businesses across the country, from information security to customer service, and more needs to be done to tackle this growing problem. But building and managing talent requires a concerted effort, resources and time. There is rarely a quick fix to addressing skills gaps.”