According to statistics, 67% of employers have trouble finding skilled IT candidates for their positions. Technologies and IT-related positions grow at an exponential rate, and the modern workforce has a hard time keeping pace with those developments.
This skill gap between employer expectations and candidate availability is one of the biggest challenges for most modern organizations. The average annual cost of job vacancies due to the skill gap is $800,000.
In this article, we discuss the reasons for skill gaps in the IT industry and how to solve the problem.
Industries across the globe are continually changing following newer technological changes. However, some of the industries with the most significant IT skills gap are healthcare, security analysts, and computer and information scientists. The computing industry has a global deficit of 1.2 openings for every worker.
At the current rate of job openings, it is predicted that there will be a skills gap of 5 million vacancies by 2020, which can cost the economy $160 billion a year in terms of lost opportunities and revenue. The following facts further solidify this statistic:
• 70% of all executives believe their workforce lacks computer skills.
• 67% of job vacancies go unfilled.
• 60% of all employers have vacancies that last over 12 months.
• Only 11% of employers believe they can find prepared college graduates.
• 40% of all businesses are incapable of taking on more work and projects or expanding due to the skills gap.
There are two primary reasons for the massive IT industry skills gap.
• Changing Labor Market: Industries across the globe are constantly changing because of the technological and IT revolution. Jobs that existed ten years ago have no place today, and jobs available now may be extinct in the next couple of years. The industry is changing and developing at a far greater pace than human capability can handle.
• Miscommunication: The skills gap is further widened when employers don’t effectively communicate their talent needs. Businesses need to be more adept at signaling the right set of skills and credentials necessary to fill in the job vacancies.
The exact steps necessary to bridge the IT industry skills gap may differ for different organizations — be it educational, governmental, industrial, etc. However, all organizations can follow a few standard practices to bridge the ever-expanding IT industry skills gaps.
Students need to learn advanced technological skills that can help them, their employers, and society at large. The biggest problem here is that tech graduates are often burdened with a curriculum that’s irrelevant or redundant in the current landscape.
Technological growth occurs too rapidly for most schools to keep up. However, the curriculum must be regularly updated so that students receive the latest and most pertinent set of skills. In place of an official school curriculum, students can also supplement their knowledge by acquiring new skills through online platforms based on industry demands. It’s crucial for students’ training to learn the current requirements in the job market.
Education institutions should also maintain open communication with employers and establish partnerships. Students need to be encouraged to blend their technical knowledge with practical experience that they can gain through internship programs.
Students should gain hands-on experience both during and after graduation. They must undertake relevant projects in the IT industry so they have a better awareness of the skillsets they should focus on. IT employers will always prefer students who have experience in the latest technological developments.
IT companies and organizations across the world are hosting a wide range of hackathons and tech-fairs to which promising tech students are invited. These tests usually comprise of language and programming speeches from industry leaders, coding challenges, competitions, and hackathons.
These tech-fairs serve several functions:
• They illustrate precisely why IT jobs are so much in demand, encouraging more people to engage in this field of education.
• Give students a better idea of the types of IT jobs and skills necessary in the workplace.
• Allowing students to interact with employers and industry leaders — which can help foster internship and training programs and provide both employers and employees with an informal setting to meet and interact.
• Companies can find the best candidates in a vast pool of interested students.
Considering how beneficial these tech-fairs are, schools and IT-related organizations across the globe should focus on setting them up more often.
Internships should be given a primary focus in educational universities because they have several benefits:
• They give students a clear idea of what shape their professional career should take.
• They learn about all the latest requirements in the workplace.
• Students get the chance to distinguish themselves and create networks that can directly benefit them at the end of their education.
• Organizations often offer PPOs (Pre Placement Offers), which can give a student’s resume a significant boost.
All of the tips mentioned above focus on how we can minimize the skills gap in the future. But how can your company bridge the skills gap right now? You can do so by training and upskilling your current employees!
Companies can offer online training and educational opportunities to their current employees. They can pay for education or inculcate training programs within their organizations. For example, AT&T recently initiated a massive training program because over half of its 250,000 workers lacked the necessary STEM skills. Training your current set of employees can be far more effective than spending hours, weeks, or even months in finding the right talent.
Traditional organizations require a complete restructuring of their hierarchical structure, especially when it comes to IT-related fields. Agility needs to be introduced so individuals and teams are better empowered to meet their specific goals.
Employees need to be empowered to find innovative solutions to their problems — they need to self-manage and adopt standardized technologies. This can also eliminate silos between various departments, thus encouraging collaboration and sharing of knowledge. This strategy diversifies the workforce so that IT knowledge is distributed across your team.
There is currently a vast IT skills gap between job openings and availability. This means that the demand far outweighs the current supply, which means that candidates with the right set of skills are precious in this work culture.
The high demand also means that other organizations easily poach highly skilled workers making it crucial that you keep your highly-skilled IT employees by giving them reasons to stay in your organization.
You can minimize the turnover rate by making your employees feel valued, supported, and keeping them engaged. Employees who are engaged continuously develop a far greater attachment to their work and organization, which makes them less likely to leave for other opportunities.
Are you currently suffering from the skills gap issue? Are you trying to fill job vacancies without much success? If so, you can use the tips mentioned above to bridge the skills gap and come ahead in the IT industry.