Should We Worry About a Cloud Skills Gap in 2020?

14 January 2020 | Posted by Cass Information Systems, Inc.

Organizations are struggling to stay ahead of the growing skills gap. As businesses rapidly transition their processes and data over to the cloud, the demand for digital experts is increasing. Technological innovation is bringing enterprises exciting opportunities by introducing new, flexible infrastructure – but it’s also creating a widening gulf in proficiency. It’s crucial you don’t find your business falling into it.

In 2016, IBM warned of a skills gap being created. Not enough people were being trained to meet the sudden rise in demand for cloud expertise and today, the outlook isn’t much brighter. In 2017, Glassdoor figures found that more than 260,000 empty technology roles in the US cost the economy almost $20 billion. In the UK, only 12% of executives believe that graduates possess enough digital skills. The career website Monster indicates that the tech talent shortage is greater than imagined. Surveying over 3,000 technology leaders, 65% of them believe that hiring challenges are hurting the IT industry. True cloud professionals look to be in short supply moving into 2020.

In fact, cloud computing has been singled out as an area of higher spend. The pace of innovation is outstripping anything we’ve seen before – where companies could once utilize employees’ expertise for many years, that is no longer the case.

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Why is a Skills Gap Occurring?

Gartner reports that 70% of employees haven’t mastered the skills they need for their current role, with 80% saying they lacked the skills they need for their current role and their future career. At its core, the skills gap is being created by an education mismatch - in the US, the skills being taught don't correlate with the demands of the market. 

The demand for new skills in the technology industry has always been a constant. The skills gap is occurring predominantly due to the rate at which cloud computing is being adopted. Business leaders are taking their processes to the cloud, putting strain on their in-house teams to adapt to a cloud-focused future. A 410% increase in adoption of IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) as the primary environment for workloads is the chief cause.

However, there are other reasons for the gap. The overall complexity of transforming a business into one that uses the cloud has been cited as holding companies back from fully investing in the necessary skills. In fact, difficulties with cloud migration are one of the key reasons behind companies choosing to remain on-premise. Another reason is cloud-based security - companies don't view the cloud as being secure enough to hold the kind of data they keep. These issues, and others, surrounding the cloud are keeping people from fully transitioning.

The fault also lies with prospective employers - businesses need to update their job descriptions to better align with the present day workforce. For the jobs that are the hardest to fill, companies need to implement a shared language, allowing them to better communicate required qualifications and credentials. 

Should You Worry About the Skills Gap?

Companies should be worried about the skills gap – it’s a real threat being noticed by CIOs worldwide. If it’s not dealt with, enterprises won’t be able to maximize the potential of cloud computing. Worse, they’ll likely lose business to better prepared, cloud-focused companies – especially new businesses, created with the cloud in mind. The skills themselves aren’t easy to find and the problem doesn’t seem to be going away.

The gap in cloud skills has doubled in the last three years. In fact, predictions for the short term indicate that 30% of high-demand roles for emerging technologies will continue to remain empty through 2022. Meanwhile, a lack of cloud skills could cost businesses millions in revenue, with an estimated $258 million lost due to the slow pace of adaption. The advent of cloud computing has completely transformed the way business’ want to work. At the same time, it’s created a need for specialist, niche talent.

Computing has the largest gap increase of any technology job over time. There are 1.2 openings for every worker, with specialized roles having an even wider gap. In particular the cyber security skills gap is very expensive, with data breaches happening all the time. 

Leaders in IT business are desperate to make the leap to a cloud-orientated future, but a reluctant and ill-trained workforce is a serious risk.

How to Address the Cloud Skills Gap in 2020

It’s important to ensure your business can address the cloud skills gap problem in both the short and long term. One of the best ways to approach the issue is to up-skill your workers. This involves looking at what your individual employees are most skilled at and helping them to enhance that, rather than trying to teach everyone something new. The latter is known as ‘continuous learning’, and it has been shown to hinder employee preparedness for new technologies by up to 22%.

Companies must transform employee skills in numerous ways – both by helping them to realize where their strengths lie, and by teaching them the personal benefits of up-skilling. Importantly, IT staff need the correct training to enable them to rethink their role in the enterprise. It’s crucial to identify the ‘in demand’ skills ahead of time and develop a culture of learning within your workforce. Validate that learning through certifications and encourage employees to gain skills that allow them to grow.

Another way to address the problem is to build a team made up of both in-house talent and outsourced knowledge. Choosing to work alongside a cloud specialist can give your business access to expertise that can promote in-house development. This is incredibly effective in the short term while you work to up-skill your employees. The idea is not to replace your employees, but compliment what they already know.

Working with Cass

At Cass, we have the cloud expertise to augment your existing IT team. Having our experts on hand means you don’t need to worry about the cloud skills gap, or the often-lengthy hiring process. Our cloud expertise covers the most in-demand aspects of working with the service, including management, security, cost optimization, and our knowledge encompasses the major cloud platforms including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). 

Working with managed service providers (MSP) to overcome the skills gap is becoming more common. 77% of companies are planning to work with MSPs to help transform their processes, with 58% of those utilizing a hybrid approach. Shifting certain tasks to the MSP is a fantastic way of managing a workload while training your in-house staff.

At Cass, we work alongside your team to streamline your cloud environments and we do so as an independent service provider. This means your team receives all the benefits of working in close formation with a cloud management expert, without the additional pressure of being sold more infrastructure you don't need. As an independent provider, our focus is purely on helping you manage your cloud better, allowing your business to maximise its potential.

Cass lends a helping hand to your business when the skills gap hits the hardest, providing invaluable insight into how to get the most out of the cloud while you search for the people you need. By partnering with an experienced service provider, your business can work towards bridging the skills gap when 2020 arrives.

To learn more about how Cass can help you manage the cloud, download our free, comprehensive brochure.

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Topics: Cloud Management Services

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