AI skills gap must be addressed urgently

High workloads are preventing people from finding time to upskill, according to 44% of UK IT managers surveyed.

  • 2 months ago Posted in

Red Hat has publishced new research revealing the top challenges that IT leaders surveyed are facing around skills, innovation and technology evolution. Overall, respondents cite strategic thinking and business skills (73%) and artificial intelligence (AI) skills (72%) as the crucial gaps that require urgent addressing. Further skills gaps identified include:

• Cybersecurity skills (69%)

• Agile delivery and the use of practices such as CI/CD pipelines, GitOps and automation (69%)

• People and human skills (69%).

The study surveyed 300 UK IT managers in large enterprises. The research follows Red Hat’s recent Thriving through change with enterprise-wide IT automation report, which identified that the largest portion (27%) of UK IT leaders surveyed think a lack of talent is the biggest challenge for their businesses today.

IT leaders’ biggest skills challenges

When asked to consider why IT teams are experiencing a skills shortage, the top reasons cited were high workload preventing people from finding the time to upskill (44%) and lack of budget for training, upskilling or recruitment (44%). These were followed closely by:

• Working in silos preventing cross-team learning opportunities (35%)

• Inability to keep up with fast moving, complex software landscape (34%).

Having scalable, flexible, citizen-enabling IT platforms, and the right expertise to drive maximum business value from them, is crucial to keep pace with the rapid evolution of advancements like cloud and AI. A third (33%) of those surveyed believe they do have the right systems in place to serve business needs but don't have the right skill sets within the organisation to maximise the potential of the platforms. In contrast, nearly half (46%) of respondents state they need new systems to better serve the needs of their business.

Threats to innovation

When asked about the current barriers to innovation in their organisation, 36% of IT managers pointed to slow adoption of the latest processes and efficient ways of working, while 35% highlighted the lack of budget for effective training and upskilling.

Additional barriers to innovation were identified as:

• Inability to recruit and retain the right talent (30%)

• Lack of access to the right technology platforms to speed up software delivery (30%)

• Not enough adoption of automation to speed up tasks and free up time (27%)

• Insufficient headcount to address growing demand (25%).

When asked what would be top of their wishlist to help their team and organisation innovate more and better, the ability to recruit and retain the right talent in the coming year was number one (33%). This was closely followed by having enough budget for effective training and upskilling (30%). A quarter of respondents are seeking the right technology platforms to speed up software delivery (25%), and the ability to measure the impact of innovation on business profitability, team satisfaction and performance (24%).

Overcoming skills gaps with technology investment

Looking ahead to 2024, respondents were asked where they plan to allocate their next set of IT investments to scale their business and focus on outcomes. The largest response (30%) was on IT modernisation in order to embrace new technologies such as AI, cloud and containers.

Enterprise open source software has a significant role to play in supporting this, with nearly half of respondents (47%) agreeing that a top benefit for their business of using enterprise open source is that it can help them take advantage of emerging technologies including AI, containers and edge computing.

Almost all respondents (98%) recognise business benefits of using enterprise open source now or in the future, with 67% saying they are currently using it. Of those using it, 80% say they are planning to increase their use of enterprise open source in the next two years, with 57% planning to increase their use of enterprise open source by 25-50% and 18% planning to increase their use of enterprise open source by 51-75% in the next two years. 

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