Wednesday, 11 February 2015 23:00

Shortage of ‘right skills’ in IT to meet rising demand Featured


A shortage of professionals with the right IT skills to meet demand in key areas of the industry is likely to have a significant impact on Australian businesses this year.

According to research by specialist IT recruiter, Greythorn, with IT projects set to dominate the market landscape this year, over a third of CIOs and IT Directors believe their single biggest hiring challenge in 2015 will be finding candidates with the right skills.

And, Greythorn says even more alarming is the fact that 41% of CIO’s believe skills shortages will have a direct impact on their business this year.

“There is a definite shortage of skills in certain key areas within IT that are experiencing rapid growth outstripping the market supply i.e. IT Sales and Business Development, Digital, Big Data and Cloud, says Richard Fischer, Greythorn Managing Director, APAC.

“Having the right calibre of talent within an organisation and, in particular, on developing projects, can be a distinct competitive advantage or conversely a big headache if the wrong decisions are made.”

According to Greythorn, the impact of off-shoring on the skills base is also having a dramatic impact with 38% of CIOs and IT Directors stating it will affect IT project delivery. And to combat these skills shortages, two key strategies were identified by respondents – “the first was clearly the most popular with almost 80% of CIO’s intending to provide training to up-skill their existing staff”.

Greythorn says this provides an excellent opportunity for the Australian IT industry.

The second solution, revealed by the survey, was to hire international candidates, which a third of CIOs and IT directors said they would consider.

Top source countries were the UK, India, Asia and NZ, and Greythorn says that the number of ICT project managers arriving in Australia on a 457 visa increased by 19% in 2014 compared to 2013.

Greythorn says that CIO’s were also concerned with acquiring the funding to achieve their objectives, the second biggest challenge identified in the survey.

Fischer says that given the talent shortages in certain areas, it is likely that the cost to secure professionals with these skills will command a premium, thereby increasing cost, and Greythorn says that with the rapidly evolving IT market, there is also an increasing need for multi-talented candidates with a diverse range of skills particularly in ‘new world IT’ such as cloud, big data, rather than those who specialise in a niche skill set.

Greythorn concludes that CIOs and IT director will increasingly seek IT professionals who have the attitude and competency to learn these skills in order to redress the shortage, and says that 2015’s IT leaders will need to be prepared to spend time on training both new and existing staff in order to foster the skills necessary to deliver key business projects.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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