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UK IT leaders reveal skill gaps hindering innovation
Thu, 7th Dec 2023

Red Hat, the global open source solutions leader, has released a study revealing key challenges and skill gaps faced by IT leaders in the UK. Among 300 managers surveyed from large enterprises, a pressing need for strategic thinking and business skills (73%), and artificial intelligence (AI) skills (72%), were identified.

Significant barriers to innovation, according to the report, include high workload preventing upskilling (44%) and insufficient budgets for training and recruitment (44%). Talent retention and recruitment were identified as key factors to stimulate innovation within organisations, with 33% of IT leaders seeking this for the forthcoming year.

Going forward, a significant 80% of respondents revealed plans to augment their utilisation of enterprise open source in the following two years. Close to half (47%) consider the adoption of enterprise open source beneficial as it allows access to emerging technologies such as AI, containers and edge computing.

Apart from AI skills, other proficiencies identified in the study as requiring development include cybersecurity (69%), agile delivery and practices like CI/CD pipelines, GitOps and automation (69%), and people and human skills (69%). The study is a follow up on Red Hat's recent report on 'Thriving through change with enterprise-wide IT automation'.

Highlighting the challenges of skills shortages, the main obstacles noted include high workload hindering upskilling, scarcity of budget for recruitment and training, obstruction of cross-team learning due to working in siloes, and the struggle of keeping up with the rapidly evolving and complex software landscape.

36% of IT managers cited slow adaptation of recent processes and efficient ways of working as a barrier to innovation, while 35% pointed out insufficient budget for efficient training and upskilling. Additional inhibitions to innovation were difficulties in recruiting and retaining the right talent, and lack of access to adequate technology platforms to expedite software delivery.

Looking ahead to 2024, respondents were questioned on their future IT investment plans to scale their business and outcomes. A significant 30% of them aimed at IT modernisation to integrate new technologies like AI, cloud and containers. Enterprise open source software plays a crucial role in supporting this transition, agree 47% of respondents. Among them, a substantial 80% plan an increase in their use of the same over the next two years.

The survey emphasis on the urgent need to bridge the skill gap that currently exists and the strategies that organizations are planning to adopt to overcome this challenge. As we move forward, the need for specialized skills like AI, Agile, and strategic thinking will only increase in prominence.