Lack of IT skills or staff in the Australian workplace

You can’t run a business without knowing how to use a computer, and hiring the right talent is becoming a very real business challenge.

When you own a business or company, you want the best of the best helping you out across all areas of your business: sales, marketing, IT and more – all of which requires a fair amount of competency with computers. What do you do when the lack of real IT talent in Australia is starting to impact your business potential?

“Information technology has become an integral tool in the workplace, necessitating a level of IT skill for effective participation in most careers.” This is reflected in the Australian workplace which has seen an increasing demand for technicians of high-quality skill. However, the seemingly lack of IT skills or staff in the Australian workplace is a problem that especially plagues small to medium sized businesses. Companies and businesses are constantly on the lookout for staff members who have the high level of IT skill that they are looking for and need in their business, but are finding it a challenging task on its own.

lack of it skills

What caused the lack of IT skills or staff?

According to the focus group research into technology investment and productivity in Australian businesses conducted by Ai Group in 2013, the “increasing adoption of technologies and a consequent need for a higher level of skills across the workforce” means that there is a continuously growing lack of IT skills or staff in the Australian workplace. A new study from CompTia echoes this sentiment, concluding that the gap in IT skills is due to the fast-changing pace of technology and a lack of training resources.

In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute June 2012 reportThe world at work: Jobs, pay, and skills for 3.5 billion people, “predicts a potential global shortage of 38 to 40 million high-skills workers in 2020.”

What are the top IT industry concerns?

In CompTIA’s 201z State of the IT Skills Gap, the top IT industry concerns were:

  • Networks/infrastructure
  • Server/data center management
  • Storage data back-up
  • Cybersecurity
  • Database/information management
  • Web design/development

So what does the lack of IT skills or the right staff mean for your medium sized business?

Medium sized businesses will feel the repercussions of this lack of IT skills or staff. Terry Erdle, executive vice president, skills certification from CompTIA states “Even as the importance of technology to business success grows exponentially, few organisations are exactly or even very close to where they want to be with technology utilisation and staff skill levels. These gaps are hampering business success.”

AAR Corp’s The Mid-Skills Gap in Middle America states “Skills gaps can translate into slower growth, high on-the-job training costs and lost of productivity.” While we may not be located in Middle America, these problems can be found across all medium sized businesses. Other problems include lower morale, poor efficiency and missed opportunities for the organisation.

How can you prevent lack of IT skills or staff in your business?

Having identified the problem with the inadequate levels of IT skills in employed and unemployed members, business are now going about rectifying this gap to ensure that their business does not suffer from the lack of IT skills or staff – both presently and in the future.

This is where the role of training and education is paramount.

The MHC (McGraw-Hill Construction) suggests “…acquiring new skills and better training. Certification of employees is one effective way in which the industry can respond to these rising needs.”

Comp TIA’s survey shows 57% of organisations (nearly six out of ten) promise to address this problem by training or retraining existing staff in areas where skills are lacking. By providing the necessary training to their employees, they are taking active measures to bridge the skills gap that is missing in their business. Other options to close this skills gap include on-the-job training, apprenticeship programs and skills certificates that target specific IT training.

Another way businesses or companies can contribute to the IT industry is through collaborative partnership with local educational institutions. Businesses have already seen the value of this partnership to ensure that the qualifications and skills given to students are relevant to the business and their needs. By identifying vital skills presently needed by the company and predicting what future skills may also be essential in their business, they can prevent the problem of lack of IT skills or staff in the workforce.

If you would like more information about the lack of IT skills or staff, then please read this report:

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