CIOs Concerned With Skills Shortage, Talent Retention

Chris CrumBusiness

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Harvey Nash recently released its 2014 CIO survey of over 3,200 chief information officers and technology leaders from across over thirty countries, with a combined tech spend of over $160 billion. It found that investment in new technology is growing at a faster rate than at any time since 2006. It also found, however, that a lack of digital skills risk holding businesses back.

Almost two thirds of companies surveyed said they lack access to the right technology talent, and that's impeding their digital strategies. Still, tech budgets are growing, it finds, as CEOs are increasingly favoring investing for growth over cost reduction and efficiencies.

46% of CIOs and tech leaders experienced budget growth over the previous twelve months, which is up from 42% last year. That's the highest level of budget growth since 2006, when it was 47%.

"Almost two-thirds of CEOs (63 per cent) now prioritise projects that generate cash (such as digital marketing, customer oriented systems and innovation led projects) over projects designed to deliver cost savings or improve operational performance," Harvey Nash says in a report on the survey's findings. "As business confidence improves, CEOs are shifting their attention away from cost saving (their top survey priority for five years between 2009 and 2013) to using technology to improve the effectiveness of their operations (top priority in 2014)."

It also found that 7% of organizations are now employing "Chief Digital Officers," which is a position that didn't actually exist until recently. It's more like 16% for companies with technology budgets of $100 million and over.

Interestingly, CIOs are now less likely, the report says, to have a direct role in shaping the company's digital strategy. 50% play an active role. That's down from 56% last year.

"For the first time since the recession, the skills shortage is once again appearing as a major management concern," the report says. "In Asia, for example, the problem is particularly acute. Retaining, developing and acquiring the skills to drive the growth program are now major priorities for leaders all over the world."

60% of tech leaders are experiencing a skills shortage within their teams, which is preventing them from keeping up with competitors. That's a significant rise form last year when it was only 45%. The concern is the highest in Asia, but it over 50% in all regions polled.

Complicating things even further, retention of talent is a rising concern with 90% of CIOs and tech leaders concerned about retaining their best people.

Marketing Charts looks at the marketing angle from the survey, visualizing the IT relationship with other business functions including operations, finance, sales, marketing, legal/compliance, and HR.

According to research from Gartner released in March, as many as 70% of CIOs intend to change their technology and sourcing relationships in the next two to three years.

Image via Thinkstock

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.