I'd like to offer some very simple reasons why the skill gap is real and why new graduated are entering the market without sufficient skills to gain employment. In my next post, I'll provide some suggestions on what businesses, students, and universities can do to close the gap.
Transformation Drivers and Financial Constraints Drive CIO Hiring Strategies
Gartner basically shows flat IT spending over the last five years while CIO are required to do more supporting digital transformation, big data, mobile, security and other initiatives. Even when transformations such as cloud, SaaS and lowcode platforms can help reduce costs over time, there is a significant transition period where CIO have to fund multiple platforms and skill sets in parallel.
Couple these financial constraints with the need to go faster, deliver more innovative solutions, and provide solutions that enable amazing user experiences across multiple channels. CIO have to find an optimal mix of talent that can drive these initiatives, meet competitive challenges, and live within financial constraints.
Lastly, maintaining systems for key business processes is an important secondary challenge as the cost of downtime is more expensive and the expertise to maintain multiple interconnected legacy systems scarce. Top talent is often assigned to drive transformation and those left to support production platforms require multiple skills and talents to resolve issues, identify root causes, or perform upgrades.
CIO Hire Multi-Skilled Technologists with Deep Expertise
UpScored.com's representation of the top 30 skill gaps likely resonates with many CIO.
When the logistics permit hiring someone skilled with one or few technology skills then they are more likely to outsource this resource need. The project demand for this skill set may be temporary and it is often cost effective to fill gaps using freelancers or with offshore or nearshore service providers.
Lastly, digital transformation often requires leveraging emerging technologies where having significant experience and knowledge is necessary to be effective delivering solutions. CIO are more likely to hire experts for these initiatives because the risk of under-delivering with mediocre or entry level talent is too significant.
Businesses are All Competing for Top Talent, Outsourcing for Skills in Single Technologies
So the gap is simple and real and here's why. When CIO are hiring, they are looking for employees that either already have deep expertise in multiple technologies, or show the capacity to learn these quickly. They are willing to pay top dollar for a versatile data scientist that can work with multiple platforms rather than invest in several data scientists with specific skills. When they need scale or specific skills, they are more likely to build offshore captives, partner with service providers, or look to hire remote freelancers.
This also explains why so many graduates have a hard time finding positions. If they come out of school knowing only a handful of technologies and platforms with entry level experience, only the largest hiring firms will be able to interview twenty to hire five and aim to retain two.
The Tech Industry Has Better Options to Address the Skill Gaps
This isn't the first time the tech industry, academic institutions, and tech graduates have witnessed a significant talent gap. Whenever there is a new group of technologies that can drive significant business transformation there is a strong likelihood of skill gaps in both new and legacy technologies. Remember how hard it was to find web programmers in the late '90s to develop websites while searching for cobol programmers to address Y2K issues?
But there are options that can address some of these gaps that I will cover in my next post. Signup below if you want a preview!