The vision of the UK as a global innovation powerhouse leading the charge in AI adoption faces significant challenges, as nearly a third (29%) of IT decision-makers believe their most substantial IT skills gap lies in AI. A wider skills and talent shortfall in the digital infrastructure industry is also hindering innovation, with nearly two-thirds (63%) citing a lack of diversity and inclusion within their IT teams, including 27% who believe the shortfall is significant. Meanwhile, more than half (51%) believe there’s a lack of interest in the digital infrastructure sector as a career.
These insights are the findings of a new report titled ‘Ensuring the right skills and people exist in digital infrastructure’ by Telehouse International Corporation of Europe, a leading global data centre service provider. 250 UK IT decision-makers were surveyed to understand their perspectives on digital infrastructure challenges, opportunities and goals for the next ten years.
Actions to address the skills shortfall
One-in-three (33%) predict AI and data analytics to be their most substantial infrastructure challenge in the coming decade. While there has been a small improvement of 4% since 2020 to close the AI skills gap, other substantial gaps remain in areas such as cloud technologies (20%) and security (14%). To combat this deficit, businesses are taking proactive measures by initiating internal training (35%) and turning to external training solutions (34%). A further 35% are enlisting external recruitment experts and 29% are investing in sophisticated tools to amplify the productivity of understaffed teams.
Attraction and retention of talent
To improve diversity and inclusion, 45% say they are launching educational initiatives and a further 43% are rolling out inclusive workplace policies. The era of the “great resignation” and “quiet quitting” also underscores the need for innovative strategies to attract and retain top individuals.
Leading the response to this challenge are flexible working arrangements (38%), opportunities for career progression (37%) and a focus on work-life balance (35%). 28% have even had to raise salary offers to attract the most suitable candidates.
“The digital infrastructure industry and policy-makers must form a united front to address the glaring diversity gaps in IT and entice young jobseekers into technology roles. There needs to be a united focus on developing transferable skills to remedy the shortage and encourage emerging technologies from the outset, otherwise innovation in areas such as AI will stall. The specialist skills associated with cloud and colocation data centre providers, such as remote hands services, will help organisations to take steps forward,” Judy Gosnell, HR Director of Telehouse Europe.