A chronic shortage of talent has become the number one challenge in the IT sector. In a new global survey conducted last month by multicloud solutions company Rackspace Technology, IT leaders worldwide are finding it one of the most pressing issues today. 53% of respondents across all industries singled out the talent shortfall as the top business challenge, even more so than inflation (48%) and supply chain issues - even the chip shortage that plagues industries is less troubling than this.
The biggest immediate challenge resulting from the talent shortage is the inability to adopt and implement new technologies, according to IT decision makers. In some cases - the survey highlights cloud technology as an example - the talent shortage is a barrier to meeting the organisation's top IT priorities.
Companies are still trying to figure out the best options for attracting and retaining IT talent, though. On the one hand, elevated salaries have become the norm for many companies desperately trying to attract tech talent - anecdotes abound of talent being lured away by massive premiums - but on the other hand, spiralling wages are not sustainable.
The Rackspace survey found that companies are now trying to attract IT staff with training and development opportunities (40%) instead. Financial incentives are still popular, with 32% offering 'moderate' increases in starting salaries and 21% still offering 'large' increases, but just as many employers are promoting flexible work instead, and in fact flexi/hybrid/work from home opportunities, together with training and development, are rated the most successful strategy for retaining the talent they already have.
Oddly, 77% of respondents say their employees prefer working from home and 69% say their staff work longer hours from home, but only 32% consider flexible work a key strategy to attract new IT talent.