Global skills and salary report finds three in four IT departments face critical skills gaps

London, UK – Skillsoft , a global provider of corporate digital learning, has 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, the report found that 76% of IT decision makers worldwide are facing critical skills gaps in their departments a 145% increase since 2016. While still a significant challenge, this represents the second consecutive year of slight improvement (79% in 2019, 78% in 2020). 

“Digital-first economy has presented significant opportunities for organisations. However, it has also created a dire need for new skills in cloud computing, cybersecurity, AI, DevOps, and many other critical tech areas,” says, 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. Organisations 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% of IT decision makers cited the rate of technology change outpacing their existing skills development programs as the primary driver, followed by difficulty in attracting qualified candidates (35%) and lack of investment in training resources (32%). In addition to the direct effect these gaps have on organisations’ bottom lines IDC predicts the financial impact growing to $6.5 trillion (€5.73 trillion) worldwide by 2025 respondents also said they increase employee stress (55%), make it difficult to meet quality and business objectives (42% and 36%, respectively), and create project delays (35%), among other challenges.

Of note, organisations are increasingly recognising the role that professional development plays in combating skills gaps and raising employee morale and retention, with 56% of IT decision makers saying they have a plan in place to train existing team members. And, given that 80% of IT professionals report a myriad of benefits after achieving new skills and certifications including improved quality of work (49%), higher levels of engagement (32%), and faster job performance (27%) providing upskilling opportunities is a win-win for both organisations and employees alike.

Additional takeaways from the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary include:

IT staff crave learning and development and will move on if they are not getting it.

  • For the third consecutive year, respondents that switched employers within the past year cited a lack of growth and development opportunities as their top reason for doing so (59%), taking precedence over better compensation (39%) and work/life balance (31%).
  • When training, 66% of respondents said they prefer a formal, instructor-led approach, while the remaining third gravitate toward informal, peer-to-peer methods, underscoring the value of providing personalised and blended learning experiences.

Salaries are on the rise and opportunities exist for even bigger paychecks. 

  • The average annual salary for IT professionals has increased across all regions. Aside from executives and those in sales, the higher-paying positions are in cloud, risk management, security, and IT architecture and design.
  • 52% of respondents said they received a raise in the past year. Of those, 60% attributed it to job performance, developing new skills, or obtaining an industry certification.

More IT professionals are certified than ever and are boosting the bottom line. 

  • 92% of all respondents said they have at least one certification, a 5% and 7% increase compared to 2020 and 2019, respectively. 
  • 64% of IT decision makers say certified employees deliver $10,000 (€8,822.35) or more in added value compared to non-certified team members, demonstrating the positive impact that investment in training has on organisations’ bottom lines.

Research Methodology 

The 2021 IT Skills and Salary Survey was conducted online from November 2020 through February 2021, yielding more than 9,300 responses globally from IT decision makers and staff. Distributed by Global Knowledge, technology companies, and industry associations around the world, the survey was made available in web articles, online newsletters, and social media, and tabulated using the Qualtrics XM Platform. 

Click here to Download the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report

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