Global cloud and network provider Interoute is unveiling research that it says shows over a third of UK companies are planning to use technology to access talent outside the UK, amid a shortage of tech skills.
The report called ‘Transforming for Success in a Changing World’ says that with nearly six in 10 (59%) organisations committed to pursuing digitalisation over the next year, the cost of skills to support digital transformation projects is on average 31% higher than other IT projects in the UK.
A survey of 120 UK IT leaders by Interoute revealed there is a consensus among 96% of organisations that the cost of professionals with expertise in digital transformation is higher than for other IT initiatives, with nearly half (48%) seeing the skills shortage as a problem.
As organisations pursue digital transformation projects to remain competitive and adapt to change, the feeling is that there is a need to connect with a wider talent pool. The majority of organisations (87%) are reliant on contractors that can support projects on an temporary basis.
On average, 42% of employees working on digital transformation projects don’t have a UK passport. As flexible and multi-cultural IT teams become the enabler of digital transformation, the skills gap could be inflated if the capacity to hire digital talent is restricted by post-Brexit policies or changes governing how contractors are employed.
More than three quarters of organisations (76%) indicate that any restrictions on hiring contractors would impact timescales for their digital transformation projects. For nearly half (48%), an inability to hire interim support would delay projects by six months, while the business recruits permanent staff. A further 28% state an inability to hire contractors would halt digital transformation plans completely. More than one in 10 (11%) believe that being unable to employ contractors would increase their overall cost of skills and talent.
In response, more than four in 10 businesses (42%) have made it an objective to enhance the employee experience so the workforce can collaborate more. By enabling mobile and social capabilities, there is an opportunity to introduce digital environments that can bring together dispersed and mobile working groups in the very moment they need to connect.
An additional 38% are also looking to globalise their infrastructure so the business can use skills from outside their geographic location as part of digital transformation plans.
“Businesses are relying on digital transformation projects to deliver their long-term future success in a changing world,” says Mark Lewis, EVP Products and Development at Interoute.
“Faced with a short supply and higher cost base for digital skills, organisations are not just looking at ways to access more talent, but also looking to focus that talent on the specific technology that differentiates their business.
“They want to avoid drawn-out systems and infrastructure integration projects that can be costly, take a long time to become operational and be slow to evolve. The key here is to enable your organisation to shift from worrying about piecing together network and clouds to instead choosing and developing your best software. Do this by leveraging pre-integrated global infrastructure, so your most valuable skills can be put towards making a difference for your business.”
Transforming for Success in a Changing World is billed as looking to build skills by deploying flexible, scalable and secure IT platforms. It includes results from a survey of 120 IT leaders in the UK and explores the factors governing IT decision making and how senior IT professionals are preparing for change.
Key findings summarised:
The price of tech skills is going up: 96% of organisations say the cost of professionals with expertise in digital transformation is higher than for other IT initiatives
The number of skilled workers in the UK is going down: Nearly half of respondents see the skills shortage as a problem, while 42% of employees working on digital transformation projects don’t have a UK passport
Brexit could endanger the IT contractor workforce: Most organisations (87%) rely on freelance contractors, and over three quarters indicate that post-Brexit restrictions on hiring could delay essential projects
Businesses are using global IT to compensate: More than four in 10 businesses aim to improve their global collaboration to combat these issues, and over a third are also looking to globalise their IT so the they can use skills from outside the UK