Could skills shortage hamper UK’s digital transformation?

Posted on 13 Sep 2017 by Jonny Williamson

With nearly six in 10 (59%) organisations committed to pursuing digitalisation over the next year, the cost of skills to support projects in this field is on average 31% higher than other IT projects in the UK.

Digital Transformation Innovation Stock - - June 2016
Half (48%) of the businesses are seeing the skills shortage as a problem for digital transformation projects.

The survey of 120 UK IT leaders by Interoute has revealed there is a consensus among 96% of organisations that the cost of professionals with expertise in digital transformation is higher than for other IT initiatives, with nearly half (48%) seeing the skills shortage as a problem.

As organisations pursue digital transformation projects to remain competitive and adapt to change, there is a need to connect with a wider talent pool.

The majority of organisations (87%) are reliant on contractors that can support projects on an interim basis. On average, 42% of employees working on digital transformation projects don’t have a UK passport.

As flexible and multi-cultural IT teams become the enabler of digital transformation, the skills gap could be inflated if the capacity to hire digital talent is restricted by post-Brexit policies or changes governing how contractors are employed.

More than three quarters of organisations (76%) indicate that any restrictions on hiring contractors would impact timescales for their digital transformation projects. For nearly half (48%), an inability to hire interim support would delay projects by six months, while the business recruits permanent staff.

A further 28% state an inability to hire contractors would halt digital transformation plans completely. More than one in 10 (11%) believe that being unable to employ contractors would increase their overall cost of skills and talent.

In response, more than four in 10 businesses (42%) have made it an objective to enhance the employee experience so the workforce can collaborate more.

By enabling mobile and social capabilities, there is an opportunity to introduce digital environments that can bring together dispersed and mobile working groups in the very moment they need to connect.

An additional 38% are also looking to globalise their infrastructure so the business can use skills from outside their geographic location as part of digital transformation plans.

Mark Lewis, EVP products and development at Interroute said. “Businesses are relying on digital transformation projects to deliver their long-term future success in a changing world,

“Faced with a short supply and higher cost base for digital skills, organisations are not just looking at ways to access more talent, but also looking to focus that talent on the specific technology that differentiates their business.

“They want to avoid drawn-out systems and infrastructure integration projects that can be costly, take a long time to become operational and be slow to evolve.

“The key here is to enable your organisation to shift from worrying about piecing together network and clouds to instead choosing and developing your best software.”

“Do this by leveraging pre-integrated global infrastructure, so your most valuable skills can be put towards making a difference for your business.”