Other parts of the business are placing new skills requirements on IT...
Tech leaders are struggling to find staff with the skills to match the demands that other departments are placing on IT, according to research.
A survey of CIOs, IT directors and other IT decision makers, conducted by IT recruitment agency Modis International, found that 60 per cent of IT chiefs had difficulty in finding candidates with expertise in digital commerce, social media and web architecture.
Jim Albert, managing director of Modis, said IT departments are coming under pressure to meet the requirements of other parts of the business.
"Marketing is coming to IT and saying: 'I need tools to make money on the internet, to sell my brand on the internet' - and IT departments don't currently have the skills to cope with those demands," Albert said.
In particular, the report said IT departments are now expected to play a key role in customer retention, as companies recognise the cost-effectiveness of retaining existing customers as opposed to finding new ones. Businesses are looking to IT staff to improve supply chains and CRM systems to enhance interaction with customers.
The survey found that, as IT departments play a greater role in understanding what customers want and have to deliver more customer-friendly technology, IT workers are expected to posses skills not only in maintaining and managing technology infrastructure, but also in more strategic areas of IT, such as social media. But finding IT staff with a more strategic spectrum of skills presents a major issue for the IT leaders surveyed.
According to the report, in the past few years, most IT departments have had to focus solely on maintenance and repairs, which have demanded a relatively narrow set of skills. Now there is a sudden need to recruit IT staff with more strategic skills - with demand outstripping supply. "Because these are new skills, they are hard to find in the market," Albert added.
Recent reports have also indicated that despite an overall increase in the demand for IT workers, only a small percentage of graduates are willing to work in IT.
Modis' survey also found that businesses are tending to focus on training existing staff rather than plugging skills gaps through recruitment. However, 43 per cent of IT leaders surveyed said holding onto their best talent is a major issue.
Fewer than six per cent of IT leaders said they have increased salaries in the past 12 months or are planning to do so in the coming 12 months. Albert added that the sudden influx of new opportunities is also tempting individuals to change companies: "They are receiving calls every day with people offering them new, interesting, better paid jobs and they are jumping."