IT Trend 2023 | 4th Trend – Creative Ways of Addressing Critical IT Skills Shortages

Whether labeled “recession” or not, almost every industry has spent 2022 and into 2023 bracing for and/or experiencing some degree of economic slowdown. We have seen marquee companies take workforce reductions to trim costs and align to tighter budgets—including their IT organizations. Most companies have had significant challenges in recruiting, hiring, and retaining much-needed IT talent in a very constrained talent market over the last several years. The staggering numbers of IT workforce reductions are gathering media attention, yet seem to go against the increasing dependency for IT in virtually all businesses.

In light of this, we still see many, particularly mid-market, organizations, facing continuing challenges in addressing IT skills and resource gaps. These challenges illustrate the growing shortage of IT talent in the market. Even with the downsizing of the IT workforce by some major players, the skills are insufficient or aren’t aligning well enough to meet the demand of other companies. Alas, gaps between demand and supply remain a problem.

Increasing corporate mandates focused on workforce diversity are compounding the challenge. As if finding, hiring, and retaining key skilled talent weren’t challenging enough, organizations are increasingly prioritizing inclusive thinking to anchor high-performing teams. To achieve these goals, they must balance racial, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and ethnic diversity in their workforce.

All these factors have compelled IT organizations to go beyond traditional HR recruiting and hiring practices to close gaps. Utilizing more creative skills and talent acquisition techniques leads to greater success.

There’s an old saying—if you want to catch more fish, go fishing in more ponds. One creative way organizations are tackling the problem is by expanding and maturing global, hybrid service delivery models. Traditionally, IT resources had to be onsite and co-located with each other and the business teams. However, using distributed resources with virtual and remote access tools can dramatically expand talent sourcing pools. Collaboration tools such as Teams, Zoom, and Slack coupled with audio and video technology, have shown that workers can be geographically distributed and remain very productive. Organizations that have extended hybrid service delivery models to embrace a mix of on-shore, near-shore, and off-shore resourcing, further increase the number of IT talent pools from which to fish. Another effective way to close IT skills and resource gaps is to take advantage of different contracting models like staff augmentation and managed services.

One might argue that adopting hybrid service delivery models isn’t necessarily a new or creative trend. These relatively selective and limited models have been around for years. Upon closer examination cost reduction is the leading driver to justify these models. The latest twist is to address critical IT skills and resource demand. This can help deal with the prolonged difficulties of traditional recruiting and staffing (and service delivery models).

Complementing the expansion of hybrid service delivery models is another creative approach, also born of older wisdom—if you can’t find more of something that you need, find a way to make more of it.

Organizations that need yet cannot hire enough specific IT skills with the required proficiency are getting creative about making more of what they need. They are turning to a relatively new breed of post-college training and development providers who have built and offer immersive, accelerated curricula which produce dozens of certified, skilled IT resources in bulk, at a fraction of the time and cost traditionally required. The realm of mainframe skills is a prime example, where the workforce is shrinking largely due to retirements—and limited college/university courseware and interest to replenish it. The market demand continues to outstrip supply.

Organizations that can forecast and commit to such demand for a longer term are turning to companies like Celsior and GenSpark®. The organizations have the capabilities to recruit from a young, less experienced, and more diverse talent pool and immerse them into intensive skills and proficiency training in mainframe technology/operations. They eventually provide this capacity to organizations via hybrid and contractual service delivery models.

At the opposite end of the high-quantity skills-need spectrum are the smaller organizations that may only need a fraction of a full-time role with a key skill. It can be difficult treating this as a part-time resource need, struggling with traditional HR recruiting and hiring practices in this tight labor market to meet the need. A more creative approach is framing this as a virtual resource and leveraging it across other companies with similar needs. For instance, consider the role of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). The CISO sets cybersecurity direction and oversees security operations for an organization. Such a role commands a premium salary and is difficult to staff. However, it may not be needed full-time in a smaller company and virtualizing the role via the “Virtual CISO” (or “V-CISO”) approach enables smaller organizations to get committed, continuing access to such key talent, tailored as-a-service to provide the optimal number of hours and scope coverage needed. This way, the company only pays for what it consumes.

The trend of creatively addressing the IT skills shortage applies techniques such as:

  • Expanding hybrid service delivery models.
  • Leveraging immersive “bulk talent” producing capabilities.
  • Virtualizing key roles where scale might be limited and achieving cost-efficiencies through leveraging resources across companies can solve the problem.

Tell us if your organization is embracing any of these creative approaches and any others which might be making a positive difference in addressing the IT skills shortage challenges!


Rob Kondoff
Senior Director – Technology Operations

This is the fifth blog of a series on IT Trends 2023.

Blog #1: IT Trends 2023: Mainstream trends you should look for next year

Blog #2: IT Trends 2023 | 1st Trend – Optimizing IT for Reliability and Resilience

Blog #3: IT Trends 2023 | 2nd Trend – Expanding Use of Cloud-Based Models

Blog #4: IT Trends 2023 | 3rd Trend – “Always On” Business Models

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