Cloud and IT skills gap comes to the fore again in new research

James has more than a decade of experience as a tech journalist, writer and editor, and served as Editor in Chief of TechForge Media between 2017 and 2021. James was named as one of the top 20 UK technology influencers by Tyto, and has also been cited by Onalytica, Feedspot and Zsah as an influential cloud computing writer.


The cloud and IT skills gap has been a long-suffering gripe for many organisations; and a new research study from Robert Half Technology shows the problem is by no means resolved yet.

According to the study, which was based on interviews with more than 100 CIOs and IT executives across the UK, three quarters (74%) of CIOs and IT directors polled admitted they frequently encountered IT professionals who were not up to the task. Yet only two in five (38%) say they use standardised skills testing before making job offers.

Anyone reading this who has ever spent the occasional lunchtime browsing LinkedIn will have undoubtedly seen memes around how qualifications are not a barrier to success in the workplace. With that in mind, the number of CIOs and IT directors who see certifications as a measurement of skill is at 61%. A similar number (60%) focus on years on experience, while more than half (53%) ask for examples of previous work in their job testing.

Evidently, the gap is clear to see. “The rate of technological change combined with the digital evolution of business today is exacerbating the current IT skills shortage in the UK,” said Neil Owen, director of Robert Half Technology. “The pace of hiring to support business growth, digital transformation and IT security challenges, while using the latest software and systems to meet best practice standards is seeing IT professionals continually needing to upskill.

“To cope, many businesses are needing to reassess their hiring requirements, considering the ‘need to have’ and ‘nice to have’ skill sets alongside cultural fit,” added Owen. “Finding high-potential candidates who can be trained and mentored to company specifications will be a key strategy for surviving – and thriving – in the technology war for talent.”

Writing for this publication earlier this month, Antonella Corno argued the need for certifiable cloud skills. “With cloud skills and the certifications, IT professionals can demonstrate that they can help an IT department drive cloud deployments in a consistent and centralised manner,” she wrote. “They become more valuable to any organisations because they know how to help to bring about desired business outcomes, such as greater business agility and lower IT architecture spending.”

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