by Charlotte Trueman

CIOs continue to face skills and recruitment challenges to drive transformation

Jul 25, 2019

CIOs and organisations are struggling to recruit the skills they need, increasingly turning to IT apprenticeships to tackle the skills shortage.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that were released earlier this year show the technology industry saw the greatest increase in job advertisements throughout 2018 – 10 percent more than the number posted in 2017.

Widespread digitisation across all sectors means many industries that would have previously been able to function with a skeleton IT staff are now having to hire software developers, cybersecurity consultants and data scientists. As a result, 84 percent of CIOs included in 2019 CIO 100 recruitment had risen up their management agenda in the last 12 months.

However, just because the jobs exist it doesn’t mean the people are there to fill the roles. According to further data gathered from the 2019 CIO 100, 77 percent of CIOs are finding it difficult to recruit the talent they need to drive transformation. This figure has grown since 2018 CIO 100 and represents the fourth year in a row where there has been an increase in responses to the question.

Unsurprisingly, the struggle to fill job vacancies has left CIOs thinking outside the box to help find the talent they need. Previous CIO 100s found that IT leaders are slowly recruiting fewer skilled technology workers from EU countries to plug the skills gap. In fact, those actively looking to IT professionals from EU member states has declined by more than a fifth since 2015.

Instead, there has been a significant increase in both the number of IT apprenticeship schemes CIOs now operate and the number of organisations trying to increase headcount or planning to insource.

An impressive 72 percent of respondents in the 2019 CIO 100 stated they were now running IT apprenticeships schemes, up from 65 percent last year and once again, the fourth year in a row responses to this question have seen an increase.

Similarly, the number of CIOs increasing headcount or planning to bring skills back in-house has seen a year on year increase, with that figure now sitting at 82 percent, a significant jump from the 75 percent of CIOs who answered yes to this question last year.

Earlier this year, deputy CEO of techUK Antony Walker commented that “building the UK’s own talent base is a must and apprenticeships are at the heart of that.” He added: “The Chancellor’s announcement that government will bring forward reforms to the apprenticeship levy to help small businesses take on apprentices is positive however… further reform is vital to make apprenticeships work for all.”