Corporate information technology workers are scrambling to keep up with artificial intelligence, Internet-of-Things other emerging digital tools, creating a skills gap that is hurting productivity, sales and even cybersecurity efforts, according to IT industry trade group CompTIA.
In a survey of IT and business executives, 74% said technology is generally a primary factor in reaching Cybersecuritybusiness goals, while 55% said that implementing new systems or processes aimed at boosting efficiencies is a top priority.
Yet nearly half said there has been significant to moderate growth in a skills gap among IT workers when it comes to deploying and managing innovative technology, including 57% of executives at large firms and 44% at midsized firms.
The survey was conducted online in February among 600 U.S. companies in a range of industries.
They were especially concerned with a lack IT skills needed to oversee emerging technologies, such as Internet-of-Things, artificial intelligence and automation. Other areas of concern included the ability to integrate different apps, data sources, platforms and devices, followed by cloud infrastructure, modernizing legacy systems, cybersecurity, software development and data management.
That’s leading to lower productivity and lost sales, stemming from delays and deficiencies in new product and service development, respondents said.
“Whatever the cause, there is clearly a wide chasm between the skills employers want and their perception of the skills their workforce has,” Charles Eaton, the trade group’s senior vice president for social innovation, said in a research note.
Strategies that these companies said they are pursuing to close the gap include offering on-the-job training to current employees as well as internships, apprenticeships and other ways to get students exposed to enterprise IT needs at an earlier stage.
Companies that are “testing the waters” with IoT, AI and other tools are finding that it’s hard for IT staff to keep pace with the fast-moving development of innovative digital IT, Amy Carrado, CompTIA’s senior director of research and market intelligence, said in a statement.
“It takes time for training materials to reach the market and for opportunities to gain hands-on experience to arise,” she said. Another approach IT recruiters are taking is to require more detailed certifications and other credentials from job seekers, in order to validate new IT skills,