The IT skills gap still troubles 80% of managers in North America and 78% of managers worldwide, according to Global Knowledge 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report, a survey of 9,505 members of the workforce.
The number of IT decision-makers who report skills gaps has rapidly increased since Global Knowledge began asking about it in 2015, with a marginal tick down between 2019 and 2020. Increased stress on existing employees and difficulty meeting quality objectives are the top two impacts of skill gaps on organizations, according to the report.
While some blame the rapidly changing technology landscape for creating the gap as employees can't keep up with emerging skill sets, employers are now reporting a lack of soft and professional skills widening the divide.
Companies demand a certain set of soft skills from IT leadership, including strong communication, to guide transformation projects and connect with employees. As soft skills requirements start to touch every role, the already stark IT skills gap holds firm.
IT decision-makers say the skills gap persists because of technology change exceeding skills development programs, difficulty attracting candidates with the skills needed and lack of investment in skills training as the top reasons behind the skills gap, according to the Global Knowledge report.
As those leaders up training for existing employees to fill the gap, 67% believe the rift costs employees between three and nine hours or work per week in productivity.
Analysts and leadership largely blamed the rapid acceleration of technology for the shift. Lack of cloud knowledge or data science acumen acted as scapegoats fixed by certification and upskilling courses.
But IT professionals today are integrated with all lines of business — especially as they work to support remote work. No longer just a resume differentiator, workplaces demand soft skills such as teamwork, adaptability and conflict resolution from all employees.
CompTIA predicts retraining for professional skills, not hard skills, will help close the IT skills gap in 2021, according to the IT Industry Outlook 2021.
"The fact that IT pros are interacting much more with all lines of business, whether that’s marketing, human resources or the front office, has only accentuated the need for professional skills," CompTIA said. "To assemble this kind of IT workforce, many companies will have to provide retraining for their IT pros in the year ahead."
Employers are seeking flexibility/adaptability, leadership and strong work ethics as the top three soft skills for potential new hires, according to a CompTIA survey of 1,500 business and tech executives globally earlier this year.
With the mass shift to remote work, these soft skills only became more crucial. Providing the tools to keep employees productive and troubleshooting tech for coworkers largely falls on IT teams, expanding their footprint throughout the business and requiring the new set of skills.