3 Tips for Companies Looking to Fill the Tech Skills Gap

Despite the pessimistic belief that automation will replace human labor, humans will continue to be the center of technological innovation for years to come, which is why having talent with the right skills is so crucial.

The change of pace within the cloud is quick, and it’s no secret that it’s difficult for enterprises to keep up. The IT industry has been increasingly affected by an expanding skills gap in the last few years, which admittedly has been a key obstacle in cloud transformation for more than 77 percent of organizations.

As cloud computing continues to become an enterprise core competency, the skill demands for IT teams are both essential to digital transformation initiatives and increasingly limited. There is general consensus that the skills gap directly hinders the flexibility of delivery, cost savings, and scalability that companies can expect to achieve in the cloud.

Despite the pessimistic belief that automation will replace human labor, humans will continue to be the center of technological innovation for years to come, which is why having talent with the right skills is so crucial. Here are three tips for companies looking to bridge their skills gap:

Tip #1: Think beyond hiring experienced candidates

Hiring is an expensive process that can cost a company up to $240,000 per hiree. The default approach for most organizations is to focus on hiring experienced candidates, but that is where they run into their first obstacle. According to LinkedIn research, cloud and distributed computing will be the single most in-demand hard skill in 2018, which means experienced cloud computing candidates are scarce and expensive. A competitive candidate pool is a recipe for retention challenges.

An alternative option is to hire the motivated young people graduating from college every year. These recent grads are eager to start their careers and are more likely to stay committed to organizations that invest in their employees. While hiring young professionals is the future-focused option due to their lack of experience, it’s still a good medium-term strategy, considering that you can invest in their future.

It’s important to keep in mind that while recruiting might get you halfway there, it won’t prepare you beyond a short-term roadmap. In this case, consider building out your team from within your organization.

Tip #2: Invest time and resources in employee training

The tech talent shortage won’t be solved by recruiting alone. Organizations need to invest time and resources into training employees in order to meet the demands of business in the digital age. A recent IDC study revealed that comprehensive training leads to the greatest benefits of cloud computing. Cloud teams require a range of skills and expertise to operate across a wide variety of vendors, technologies, and business requirements. Businesses preparing for the future know cloud training is more than ticking a checkbox, it needs to be treated like any other critical business challenge.

For organizations trying to create value and stay competitive, investing in continued education is a great way to attract new talent. It is important to note that more than half of qualified candidates tend to gravitate toward companies offering opportunities for skill development.

When organizations invest in people, recruiting and retention benefit. Cloud computing skills are a business asset, and sometimes the best fit can be found outside the typical talent pool.

Tip #3: Combine nontraditional resourcing with continuous learning

Cloud computing has become a staple among enterprises, especially with 97 percent of companies worldwide using such services. Companies that require cloud computing skills typically have existing employees with related skill sets. To find a suitable fit in the midst of a skills shortage, expand your talent search to related industries such as research, applied math, and hard sciences when recruiting, and you may discover a hidden gem.

Every new hire will require continued training, but retraining individuals within your organization shows an investment in your existing talent that will not go unnoticed. Building continuous learning into your company culture is a competitive necessity, and an investment in your company’s present and in your ability to grow and scale for years to come. Make training strategic by creating training plans that are role-specific and oriented for required skill sets in the future. Build training into each manager’s objectives and set business goals around skill acquisition. Manage the cloud skills gap as you would any other short, medium, and long-term risk to your business because your organization depends on it.

Digital transformation and inadequate skills do not have to hinder business efforts. Organizations need to treat the skills gap as a long-term dynamic business problem. Technology will continue to advance, which means employees must continue to develop their skills. Incorporating alternative methods could solve your tech talent problems.

Stefano Bellasio is CEO and founder of Cloud Academy, a technology training platform for enterprise multi-cloud infrastracture that drives digital transformation.

 

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