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racing car on track sur car 1
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How can organisations bridge IT skills gap and revitalise tech talent?

The great shift to remote and hybrid working has piled the pressure on IT departments.


The great shift to remote and hybrid working has piled the pressure on IT departments. With employees working on more devices and from more networks than ever before, teams must maintain business continuity whilst supporting an increasingly mobile and distributed workforce.

At the same time, they are having to contend with the ever-evolving cybersecurity challenges that come with remote working."
 - Aurelio Maruggi, CEO.

Pressures are now being multiplied by the ongoing IT skills gap. As organisations demand more advanced digital skills to keep pace with emerging technologies, they are struggling to find the right people to fill these roles. This shortfall in tech talent is also prompting many of the most skilled employees to leave for better job opportunities.

In an increasingly tight and competitive labour market, 67% of UK decision-makers now view the digital skills gap as one of the main threats to their business. This gap will not just disappear in fact, it will only get wider if left unaddressed. To bridge the divide, organisations will need to cast their eye both internally and externally, taking steps to better attract in-house talent but also leveraging smart outsourced services to tap into a wider pool of expertise.


Mind the gap

The Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns accelerated digital transformation across industries, forever changing the way we live and work. In particular, it has transformed the expectations and demands of a newly agile workforce, who require the flexibility to seamlessly operate in the office, at home, and on the move. With anywhere, anytime access now a must-have for businesses, it’s an exciting time for the IT industry but one in which demand is far outstripping supply.

Three years into the ‘new normal’ of work, digital innovation is developing at a much faster pace than the skills needed to apply this technology. This gap is hurting businesses in several ways. As technology trends move and evolve, organisations that do not have the talent in place to quickly and adapt to these changes risk falling behind in our new digital landscape. Furthermore, the IT skills gap is fuelling a vicious circle by hindering an organisation’s ability to develop innovative new products or services, as there are fewer people to do the jobs required to remain competitive.

For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the digital skills gap poses particular challenges to stretched IT teams. According to Enterprise Research Centre’s ‘State of Small Business Britain’ report, almost a fifth (17%) of SMEs lack basic digital skills, while over one in five lack the advanced digital skills they need to operate. This is placing both IT departments and the wider organisation under increased strain, potentially leading to sought-after talent being poached by larger competitors with deeper pockets. Indeed, the shrinking talent pool has already led to wage inflation, with average earnings in the IT sector up by 8.6% year-on-year. At a time when budgets are tight due to ongoing economic pressures, this causes a financial strain that some businesses may not be able to sustain.

The digital skills gap also spells bad news for organisations’ cybersecurity efforts. With remote and hybrid workers expanding an already broad attack surface, IT departments are having to continuously update their knowledge and skills to keep up with evolving security risks. However, a significant lack of cybersecurity talent within in-house teams has prevented many businesses from staying ahead of new and emerging threats such as phishing attacks, which have increased by 61% year-on-year. This signals a clear need for organisations to tap into a broader and deeper talent pool, with the cybersecurity expertise required to secure the hybrid workplace.

Attracting and retaining the right talent

Now, with a new generation of digital natives joining the workforce, demands for the quality, speed, and convenience of the latest technology are likely to intensify further. To meet this need and bridge the IT skills gap, businesses must take proactive steps towards finding and holding on to the best tech talent.

It takes time and money to recruit new talent which is why organisations should make smart investment decisions to ensure both are well spent. Even for businesses with tight budgets, this approach is well within reach. For example, investing in IT solutions that aid collaborative hybrid working is a great way to make an organisation stand out to sought-after digital talent, who are increasingly demanding flexibility tailored to their specific needs across office and remote working environments. Providing the latest digital tools and technologies also supports the retention of skilled staff, as employees are significantly less likely to experience friction, frustration, or high turnover in a smart hybrid workplace.

Businesses can also narrow the digital skills gap by building a culture that truly appeals to today’s diverse workforce. The strongest candidates are ambitious and have many options, so employers should look to stand out from the crowd with a broader array of workplace benefits than salary alone. 

Bridging the gap with smart outsourcing

But despite organisations’ best recruitment and retention efforts, many will continue to face in-house digital skills gaps due to record demand across industries. Nevertheless, there are still ways for these businesses to tap into the wide pool of tech talent required to keep up with the evolving demands of the modern workplace.

With smart outsourced services and access to external expertise, organisations can repurpose their existing in-house capabilities, help to fuel business growth and ensure that strained budgets are spent wisely in tough economic times. Outsourcing also helps to revitalise tech talent by lifting the burden on overstretched teams. A managed IT service can take care of time-consuming tasks such as the set up and imaging of new laptops for in-office and remote workers, without the need for skilled in-house teams to take on the job. This empowers organisations to work more smartly, freeing up their workloads to focus on more strategic business initiatives.

Looking externally also helps organisations to strengthen their security posture without having to worry about recruiting a team of fully skilled cybersecurity professionals. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to securing diverse IoT environments, so external experts can conduct proactive monitoring and pre-emptive maintenance to guarantee system availability, as well as implementing the most recent patching, updates, and encryption technologies to safeguard against evolving cybersecurity risks.

As our digital world continues to evolve and innovate, organisations need to be proactive to address the ever-widening IT skills gap across industries. To rise to the challenge, they should invest both internally and externally, relieving the pressure on strained IT departments by tapping into a rich pool of tech talent to support the hybrid future of work.

- Aurelio Maruggi, CEO of Apogee Corporation

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