How to close the technology skills gap with IT training
To close the digital skills gap, orgs need to upskill their employees. Here’s how to build an effective IT training program based on IDC insights.
Nov 06, 2023 • 5 Minute Read
- IT Ops
- AI & Machine Learning
- Learning & Development
Tech is changing faster than orgs can upskill their employees—and IT is no exception. In fact, IDC predicts that by 2025, 90% of organizations will face severe impacts from the IT skills shortage, with up to $6.5 trillion in losses.
Here’s what we learned about the digital skills gap and how orgs can close it with IT training. Download the IDC Skills forward: Staying competitive amid the worsening IT talent shortage analyst brief.
Table of contents
Generative AI is accelerating the technology skills gap
The IT skills gap already exists: This year, two-thirds of global enterprises saw revenue, quality, and competitiveness decline as a result of the skills shortage. And artificial intelligence and machine learning have only accelerated it. As the technology skills gap continues to grow, the resulting product delays, reduced customer satisfaction, and lost revenue will only exacerbate the issue.
To break the cycle and come out ahead, orgs need to invest in tech and training today while keeping an eye out for the roles and skills their people will need tomorrow. But organizations with limited resources often need to choose between technology and training.
IDC research indicates that about two-fifths (41%) of global organizations say that investments in skills and digital training of employees will be their most enduring technology investment in 2023 and 2024, even outpacing pressing investments in generative AI solutions such as OpenAI's ChatGPT and Google's Bard.
The takeaway? Smart organizations are investing in their people to make the most of their tech solutions (including AI tools).
Challenges of the technology skills shortage for IT professionals
The IT skills shortage has affected the pace and success of hiring efforts and digital transformation. According to IDC's 2022 Global IT Skills Survey, it’s taking, on average, three months longer to fill vacant IT positions in 2023 than it did in 2022. The roles hardest to fill? AI and ML top the list, along with cybersecurity, cloud development, and IT service management.
Our 2023 State of Upskilling report also found that orgs have significant skills gaps in data science and cloud computing. Without the right skills, organizations struggle to leverage new technologies. This impacts their ability to drive digital transformation effectively.
According to IDC's 2022 Global IT Skills Survey, over 81% of IT executives are experiencing IT skills-related digital transformation delays of 3 – 10 months. With products and services reliant on these transformations, orgs face disappointed customers and lost revenue if they can’t complete their goals on time.
Benefits of IT training for organizations
Upskilling employees is the best way to fill the technology skills gap long term and stay competitive in a growing market. With the average cost per hire up to three or four times the position’s salary, it’s also one of the most cost-effective.
Organizations recognize this benefit. In fact, our State of Upskilling report found that 72% of organizations planned to increase their investment in tech skill development in 2023, despite economic headwinds.
IT training benefits employees, too. When you give them career paths and opportunities for growth, you boost their employee satisfaction and help them feel more connected to your company.
How to build an effective IT training program
At Pluralsight Navigate 2023, Gina Smith, Research Director at analyst firm IDC, explained how to build an effective upskilling program for employees.
Get IT upskilling buy-in from leaders
Successful upskilling is an organization-wide effort that starts with leaders. If organizations tell employees to upskill but don’t provide time to learn on the job, learning opportunities, or communities of practice, employees won’t have the support or resources they need to actually learn IT skills.
Talk with leaders about the value of upskilling and certifications and how they impact the bottom line. Learn how to get executive buy-in for upskilling investments.
Assess technology skill levels of IT professionals
For employees, one of the biggest challenges of upskilling is a lack of direction. They don’t know where to focus their skill development, and they’re looking to their leaders for help.
To understand what IT skills your teams need, you first need to understand what technology skills your teams already have. Conduct an IT skills benchmark across your organization. What are your employees’ strengths? Where could they improve? Do non-technical teams have foundational knowledge of IT? Do IT teams have depth of expertise?
If you can’t conduct a sweeping analysis right now, direct individuals to things like Skill IQ assessments so they can start benchmarking their skills and where they need to improve. Once you conduct your skills inventory, predict your IT skills needs for the next six months and year. Continually reevaluate to stay on top of your skill needs and the latest tech trends.
Use AI tools to augment the tech skills learning process
From self-paced video courses to instructor-led training, sandboxes, and hackathons, the learning resources that are most effective depend on the learner. Provide a mix of learning resources to boost engagement and cater to employees with different styles. Because technologists agree hands-on experiences are one of the most effective ways to learn new technology skills, immersive experiences are often worth the investment.
And why not make the most of the latest technology in the learning experience? Generative AI tools can help your teams identify the skills they need, ask questions, and get learning recommendations.
The organizations already using AI for IT skill development are leading the charge. According to IDC, “In a June 2023 survey, 23% of IT leaders told IDC that they expect to utilize generative AI to operationalize and personalize IT training for reskilling and upskilling. They are at the vanguard.”
Close the digital skills gap in your organization
The longer your organization waits to take action, the larger the technology skills gap will grow. Download the IDC Skills forward analyst brief to learn what you need to stay competitive.
Build your organization’s IT skills—explore Pluralsight’s IT skills courses and learning paths.
IDC Skills Forward: Staying Competitive Amid the Worsening IT Talent Shortage, Doc #US51248323, September 2023