Nine out of ten organizations lack proper tech skills: study

Survey of 1,200 executives finds strong movement to digital business; but stress over lack of skills to make it happen.

While today's organizations depend on technology more than ever to move forward, they are finding they lack the skills to make it possible. Only one in 10 companies, in fact, are confident they have the right skills to compete in a technology-intensive global marketplace.

That's one of the findings of a new survey of 1,200 executives, just released by the IBM Center for Applied Insights. The survey report examines the rise of four technology areas – mobile, business analytics, cloud and social business – concluding that only one in ten organizations has all the skills it needs. "These shortages are not trivial or isolated," it continues. "Within each area, roughly one-quarter report major skill gaps, and 60 percent or more report moderate to major shortfalls."

Plus, there doesn't seem to be much help coming down the pipeline either. In a parallel academic survey, IBM says close to half of the educators and students responding said there were major gaps in IT skills coverage – "a deficit nearly twice the size of what businesses are already experiencing. Including those with
moderate gaps, totals rise to 73% or more."

As Jim Corgel, IBM general manager for academic and developer relations, puts it: "Today we are faced with one of the largest skills gap in history." He advises more aggressive actions on the part of businesses to invest in skills development among current employees. Plus, he adds, "they should encourage experimentation and let their employees try out new technologies. Corgel also observes that the skills gap is global. "IBM is expanding rapidly in Africa. We see great potential for our business in the coming years. We’re hiring rapidly and recently set up an IBM Research lab in Nairobi, Kenya. We’re going to need thousands of people with advanced technology skills."

As technology dissolves borders and skills and services are accessed across the globe, organizations will find themselves competing with the rest of the world for the skills they need.

(Disclosure: IBM is a sponsor for this site.)

(Photo: US Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

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