A new report has revealed that leaders in the digital sector are facing a threat to growth through shortages of skilled workers, the effects of Covid-19 and the rise of climate change.
The research, conducted by the Harvey Nash Group, found that skill shortages are one of the biggest problems firms face, in many cases caused by workers re-assessing priorities or leaving for higher wages after the pandemic.
Around two-thirds (67%) of digital leaders globally said they are struggling to keep pace with technical changes due to a reduction in skilled talent.
Cybersecurity professional have become the most sought-after employees, with 43% of respondents indicating a shortage – an increase of nearly a quarter so far in 2021.
Following cybersecurity professionals, skilled data/analysts are down 40% and technical architects more a third (34%).
A shortage of developers is increasing the fastest – at around 32% – the biggest increase compared with previous years.
Harvey Nash Group says that the developer shortage is due to the pandemic driving a focus on creating new products and services, and therefore the need for developers increases.
As well as skill shortages, the data showed that the gender divide within workplaces still needs to be addressed. Although the number of women taking up roles has increased, it is taking place “at a snail’s pace” according to the report. Just 12% of the digital leaders surveyed identified as female.
Alongside COP26 continuing in Glasgow, the results also revealed that leaders are continuing to place the cutting the carbon footprint of ‘power-hungry’ technology, such as data centres, as a low priority.
Only around one fifth (22%) of digital leaders said they have made carbon reduction attempts of their technology to any great extent.
Despite more than half (51%) of the respondents saying they recognise that tech is “crucial” to improving the issue, the move to greener business practices still sits “second to last” on the board’s priorities.
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Commenting on the research, Bev White, CEO of Harvey Nash Group said: “With businesses planning record levels of digital investment, we could be standing on the verge of a ‘second renaissance’ for technology.
“Organisations are looking to push their digital transformations further and faster than ever before, putting technology at the very heart of how they operate. This will take them beyond being merely ‘tech-centric’: technology will literally be dispersed throughout the business, everywhere.
“But these ambitions are coming under threat from the acute skills shortages that are now worse than ever before. In fact, businesses face a triple whammy.”
White added: “They lack the supply of skilled resource they need; they have not yet evolved a new and effective employee proposition for the hybrid working world; and the skills they need are themselves changing as technology develops at pace.
“Digital leaders need to rapidly assess their needs and find solutions if their plans are not to be derailed by this potent cocktail of challenges,” she said.
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