Updated November 18, 2020 by Siobhan Climer and Jason Wankovsky
On October 2, 2020, Amazon announced in a press release its intention to invest over $700 million in upskilling programs for 100,000 U.S. employees by 2025. “The American workforce is changing” says Amazon, “there’s a greater need for technical skills in the workplace than ever before, and a huge opportunity for people with the right skills to move into better paying jobs”.
The concept of upskilling the workforce isn’t new. In May of 2018, Accenture committed $200 million to Upskill America. In fact, a McKinsey study found that 66% of executives across the globe see reskilling and upskilling as a top priority; yet, only 16% of those same individuals felt prepared to facilitate this training.
PWC recently found that 79% of CEOs worry about the availability of key skills in the workplace. The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the increasing speed of modernization and digitization, and the oft-referenced “skills gap” in industries ranging from cybersecurity to accounting leave the C-suite anxiously searching for right-fit candidates that have the skills and mindset for their organization.
But are they looking in the right places?
In-Demand Technology Skills Include Containerization, Cloud, & Cybersecurity
Recent in-demand skills trends have primarily centered on cloud computing and containerization of apps and services. It is taking 25% of HR departments 90 days or longer to fill these empty technology positions, according to OpsRamp. They need this experience, though. The report shows that 60% of companies build or run the majority of their mission-critical IT services using cloud-native architectures.
Cybersecurity isn’t far behind. In fact, a report by non-profit IT security firm (ISC)² shows 2.93 million unfilled jobs. On average cybersecurity roles now take 21% longer to fill than other IT jobs. While the reasons for these unfilled positions are numerous – from the amount of training and continued learned required to the sharp rise in sophisticated cyberattacks – the fact remains that risks are high and risk mitigation resources are low.
Upskill Vs Augment: Trending Across The U.S.
Forbes, IDC, and Business.com have all released recent articles offering advice on upskilling models or retraining programs. To upskill effectively, IT departments need to first have the people to train; unfortunately, IT departments are notoriously understaffed.
During a recent interview, a Mindsight client stated, “While our business has grown, our IT department has not.”
With this sentiment repeated over and over, how can a leader upskill an IT team already spread thin?
In these scenarios, more IT leaders are shifting to an augmentation model. By augmenting your team with service extensions – through a managed services provider or partner – IT leaders are better able to manage the swift changes in the market.
Managed Services Fill Skills Gap: Cloud And Cybersecurity
In cybersecurity, many organizations now hire a virtual chief security officer (vCISO) who provides the breadth and depth of experience to expertly navigate the ever-evolving threats to businesses.
On the cloud side, the divergence of vendors has led many organizations to work with MSPs that have expertise in a particular platform. While a business may have several Microsoft-savvy engineers on staff, AWS might be the right technology-fit for the business. An MSP can provide that expertise, filling the skills gap without requiring an investment in training that may be necessary today and outdated tomorrow.
Maintaining Agility In Today’s Market
By upskilling, you invest in the people on your team. There is enormous value in that endeavor. You build loyalty, reduce risk, and save money. At the same time, for growing organizations this may not be feasible. The first step in most upskilling programs is identifying internal employees for upskill. Without a suitable number of employees, the upskilling program can end before it begins.
Even if your organization is planning on upskilling the team eventually, augmenting the team is a quick way to retain momentum and growth during the program implementation. Organizations are able to offload risk, focus on strategy, and build better products, services, and solutions for their customers.
Whether you upskill or augment your team, filling the growing technology skills gap remains a central challenge facing IT leaders today.
To find out how Mindsight helps businesses augment their IT departments with managed services, contact us or sign up for a whiteboard session. We’ll help you identify how a partnership can help you meet the evolving needs of the technology sector while investing in your people and business.
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About The Authors
Jason Wankovsky is the Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Consulting Services at Mindsight, an IT Services and Consulting firm located in the Chicago area. Jason has over 20 years of experience in IT management and executive leadership and is responsible for Mindsight’s technology vision. He is also focused on the creation and delivery of high value managed services for clients across multiple industries. Jason leads the solution architecture team that is responsible for delivering optimal technology services and solutions that enable the businesses of clients.
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s reading and writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.