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Technical skill development and gaps across three global markets

Uncover the technical skills gaps, tech career challenges, cost of hiring and upskilling, and technical skill development insights across global markets.

May 3, 2024 • 4 Minute Read

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  • Cloud
  • IT Ops
  • Software Development
  • Engineering Leadership
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  • AI & Machine Learning
  • Learning & Development

We know organizations need technical skills—but the skills they need, the gaps they have, and the challenges they face can differ by region. 

In this article, we break down regional data differences from the 2024 Technical Skills Report to help you close skills gaps and drive your org forward no matter where you're located.

Want technical skill development insights specific to the United States public sector? Check out our blog post for the full data breakdown.

Table of contents

Target markets: Where did we research skill gaps?

We surveyed 1,400 executives and IT professionals across the United States, United Kingdom, and India.

  • United States: 600

  • United States public sector: 200

  • United Kingdom: 400

  • India: 200

Tech skills by region: Cybersecurity and cloud top technical skills gaps

Executives and technologists across all regions agree the top two skills gaps are cybersecurity and cloud computing.

The third largest skills gap? Software development in the UK and India and DevOps in the United States. Software development comes in fourth only by a difference of 1% for executives and 2% for technologists in the US. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, security, cloud, and software development are also the top three skills technologists think are the most important to learn in the next year.

However, American technologists aren’t prioritizing AI skills as much as their APAC and EMEA counterparts. 40% of IT professionals in India and 38% of technologists in the UK say AI/ML is an important skill to learn in the next year, but only 24% of American technologists say the same.

Here's a look at the top skills gaps globally:

The skills gap effect: Heavy workloads and unfinished projects

The majority of IT professionals in the US, UK, and India say executives are not aware of the technical skills gaps in their organizations. 

However, executives in Indian organizations seem to have a slightly better understanding of their teams’ tech needs. 54% of Indian executives say they don’t completely understand the tech skills their IT professionals need, compared to 66% of UK leaders and 72% of US executives.

This lack of understanding has contributed to skills gaps and created challenges across regions. Organizations around the globe have had to abandon projects partway through because they lacked the needed IT skills. And technologists in the US, UK, and India say their workload has increased due to the skills gap. 

Top global skill development challenges: Overcoming time constraints

In all regions, finding time to learn is the biggest barrier to upskilling in a tech career. Employee engagement also falls within the top three challenges.

In the US and the UK, the other top challenge to upskilling includes lack of support from leadership. In India, lack of financial resources poses a significant barrier.

Upskilling motivators: Global technologists want to strengthen job security

IT professionals around the world have slightly different motivations for learning new technical skills, but they all list stronger job security among their top three motivators.

In India, technologists also upskill in hopes of earning more career options and higher salaries. Both UK and US technologists are motivated by improving their confidence in their skills. But while UK technologists are also primarily interested in higher salaries, Americans seek more career advancement opportunities.

The cost of hiring vs. upskilling: Hiring costs more in all three markets

In terms of time investment, executives and technologists in all regions agree hiring new IT professionals takes longer than upskilling. On average, the hiring process takes the longest in the US—by two full weeks.

Organizations in the US, UK, and India also agree hiring new IT professionals costs more than upskilling existing talent. Here’s the breakdown by region:

  • In America, organizations spend $23,450 per employee on hiring new IT employees and $15,231 on upskilling. 57% of organizations spend less than $5,000 per employee on upskilling for IT roles.

  • In the UK, organizations spend roughly £32,178 on hiring new IT professionals and £22,385 on upskilling. 47% spend less than £5,000 per employee on upskilling.

  • In India, organizations spend an average of ₹84,384 on hiring and training a new IT employee. The average cost of upskilling is ₹64,638. 18% spend less than ₹10,000 per employee on technical upskilling.

Assessing ROI: Global organizational approaches to measuring skill development

Organizations in the US, UK, and India use three main methods to measure IT skills: skill assessments and tests, team and peer feedback, and continuous learning and training participation. 

The exact metrics they use to measure the ROI of technical skill development differ by region, though. American organizations track employee engagement (46%), changes in revenue (46%), and employee turnover (46%).

In the UK, organizations primarily look at employee engagement (51%), change in costs (41%), and time to competency (41%). Meanwhile, many Indian organizations track employee engagement (65%), time to competency (50%), and employee turnover (50%). 

Create a culture of learning to close skills gaps

Regardless of where your organization is located, closing technical skills gaps is critical to taking advantage of new technologies and driving business value. 

Download the 2024 Technical Skills Report to learn how to create a culture of continuous learning and close critical skills gaps before they appear. Start a free trial of Pluralsight Skills so you or your team can get started.

Pluralsight Content Team

Pluralsight C.

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