A quarter of Australian IT chiefs are finding it difficult to recruit staff with the cloud skills they need, according to a survey commissioned by Rackspace.
Migration project management and cloud security are the skills IT decision makers find hardest to recruit, reported by 30 per cent and 24 per cent of respondents respectively, followed by expertise in DevOps (20 per cent) security (20 per cent) and testing (20 per cent).
The survey questioned 2,000 people globally, including 50 Australian IT decision makers, and 50 local IT workers.
The cloud skills shortage was also felt by Australian IT professionals: less than five per cent of those surveyed identified DevOps as a skill they held, while just six per cent said they were skilled in automation, and eight per cent in cloud security.
One in ten said they were not confident that they will have the right expertise to manage or use their company’s cloud technologies in five years.
“While the rise of artificial intelligence and automation may cause some to think that human insight is less important, our report shows that this is not the case,” said John Engates, chief technology officer at Rackspace.
“With technology and the cloud now underpinning business transformation, the growing technology skills gap means organisations must have a strategy to access the expertise needed. Those that don’t will struggle to be competitive and innovative.”
The lack of necessary skills in the market is having a negative effect on business, the survey suggests.
Forty-six per cent of IT decision makers acknowledged that a lack of expertise is “holding their business back”.
Based on the responses, the report says local businesses are losing AU$227 million annually – or 5.5 per cent of revenue - due to the lack of expertise.
However, with two-thirds of IT chiefs looking to increase their organisation’s cloud usage in the next five years, and 56 per cent saying that retaining talent is a concern, the challenges associated with recruitment are likely to increase, the report’s authors state.
“Put simply, cloud technology is a victim of its own success. As the technology has become ubiquitous among large organisations – and helped them to wrestle back control of sprawling physical IT estates – it has also opened up a huge number of development and innovation opportunities," said Will Venters, assistant professor of information systems at the London School of Economics, which carried out the survey.
"However, to fully realise these opportunities, organisations need to not only have the right expertise in place now, but also have a cloud skills development strategy to ensure they are constantly evolving their IT workforce and training procedures in parallel with the constantly evolving demands of cloud.
"Failure to do so will severely impede the future aspirations of businesses in an increasingly competitive digital market,” he added.