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IT businesses struggling to bring greater gender balance and build a digital strategy

Male IT workers are outnumbering their female counterparts two-to-one as the sector struggles to bring greater gender balance to its workforce and lacks digital strategies, a survey released today (Tuesday 6 August 2019) has found.

Almost 300 senior IT professionals were asked about the state of their business and their working environment by Reed Technology, finding that in addition to a gender imbalance almost a third - 29% - of businesses within the sector do not have a digital strategy and are struggling to find the skillsets to build one.

There is widespread awareness that the role of IT is integral to improving business processes (65%), cost reduction (65%), enabling business change (60%), increasing operational efficiencies (57%) and driving revenue growth (47%) – all key parts of a strategy.

However, the skillsets needed to achieve this are in demand and difficult to source with companies in constant competition for workers skilled in information security (52%) and business analytics (41%) as well as project delivery (39%). This translated to the skills most difficult to source with architecture (32%), information security (20%), analytics (20%), development operations (20%) and business analytics (17%) said to be the hardest to recruit for.

As a sector at the forefront of change, IT is always going to be breaking down barriers as well as chasing the next one. But the industry’s drastic shortage of female workers is still one of its major challenges. 
Chris Adcock, managing director, Reed Technology 

Chris Adcock, managing director of Reed Technology, said: “As a sector at the forefront of change, IT is always going to be breaking down barriers as well as chasing the next one. But the industry’s drastic shortage of female workers is still one of its major challenges. Companies need to ensure their process is set up to attract female workers into IT roles but as the talent pool is so gender biased it will continue to be a struggle for them to succeed in this. The fight for diversity in IT is not just an equality issue but is essential to help limit the ever widening skill shortage.

“With the acceleration of AI developments and applications, as well as the drive for greater cyber security measures, the evolution of the industry has never been faster. There is also the need to define a digital strategy for a third of companies – a problem that could have arisen due to the drastic shortage of the skills necessary to complete the task. More talent is needed.”

Senior IT professionals interviewed also highlighted the trends that will be on their agenda in the rest of the year with cloud computing (65%) being a dominant topic followed by cyber security (60%) and data governance/GDPR (52%).

Chris Adcock continues: “This comprehensive set of results not only gives us an insight into the concerns and fears of IT professionals, but also the opportunities that talent in the sector should be aiming for. It’s clear that those who can translate data and master cyber security legislation, as well possess the ability to prepare for and combat threats, will thrive in this new age where GDPR compliance and hacking threats are not going away.

“It’s a brave new world for IT. For those in leadership positions there are multiple issues. But as always if companies can focus on hiring and retaining the right talent they will be setting themselves up for success in this new and ever changing industry.”

 

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