Address talent shortage by upskilling existing workers

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Partly owing to the “Great Resignation” and partly due to the fast pace at which technology advances, the demand for skilled tech workers is higher than ever.

Companies are finding it harder to find the talent needed to keep up with digital transformation. A survey of 750 CIOs and other IT leaders by software company Pegasystems found confidence in tech teams was “on shaky ground” as organizations look to radically overhaul their IT functions. More than half of IT leaders surveyed said they were uncertain that their IT teams could bring about positive change in the department over the next five years, with almost one in five reporting either significant doubts or no confidence whatsoever.

While many companies scramble to adjust their compensation packages to lure coveted tech workers, they are missing out on an important tool: Upskilling. Research from McKinsey reveals that the pandemic has accelerated digital upskilling–40% of workers used the pandemic to improve their digital skills, while 77% are ready to learn new skills or completely re-train.

Not everyone has to learn to code, but many people need to understand and manage artificial intelligence, data analytics, autonomous vehicles, and other technologies we can’t yet predict.

The cost of digital transformation

According to Twilio, 79% of executives increased their budgets for digital transformation in response to COVID-19. More and more companies are investing in digital upskilling solutions, leading to online learning platforms seeing a significant uptick in usage over the last year.

As a CIO, upskilling your current workforce is a cost-effective alternative to hiring new talent. Instead of finding new folks who already have experience in new tech, such as machine learning or native cloud capabilities, the trick is to find existing employees with tech aptitude who can learn these technologies in order to fill skill gaps. Technical aptitude is the natural ability to learn or perform in a specific area. For example, someone with an aptitude for music would be much more likely to learn a new instrument. If an employee has a STEM aptitude, learning new tech will be easier for him or her.

Digital upskilling can bridge the technological gap of the staff through training courses that not only have as their object the new technology, but that use the technology itself, such as eLearning platforms, to achieve their goal.

Upskilling help

Tech giants like Amazon, IBM, Microsoft, and Google have all developed upskilling and reskilling efforts to deal with the tech talent shortage. Amazon’s AWS cloud computing service business announced a program to provide education and training programs to 29 million people globally between now and 2025. It offers 500 free courses to advance the cloud computing skills of workers.

IBM collaborated with Purdue University to create the #1 ranked Post Graduate in Digital Transformation program. The program features masterclasses by Purdue faculty and IBM experts, exclusive hackathons, and Ask Me Anything sessions by IBM.

There are also some organizations in Fast Future Country who can help you upskill your workforce in new areas of tech. Illinois-based Tech READY, for example, supports both experienced professionals looking to sharpen their skills and “newbies” interested in pivoting to a tech career for the first time by providing various training programs.

If talent management is a top priority for your shop this year, look within to develop your bench strength.