Channel Skill Gap to be Reduced by 2020

Channel leaders are confident the skills gap will be reduced by 2020, according to research by OnePoll. Commissioned by Agilitas, the aim of the research was to understand how skills in the industry will develop by 2020.

The survey of IT Resellers, Managed Service Providers and independent IT providers revealed a confident outlook, with 75% expecting the skills gap to change by 2020, and 64% believing it will be resolved or reduced. A minimal 17% believed the gap will become worse in the next four years.

“The trend is in contrast to the arguments that we’ve heard recently about running out of talent,” commented Shaun Lynn, CEO of Agilitas. “Our research revealed that rather than resting on their laurels, many in the industry are confident of being able to make positive changes and reduce the gap.”

The research also looked to understand what channel leaders plan to do to assist in reducing the skills gap, revealing that fostering high quality technical skills is a key priority in the channel. Forty-seven percent see a lack of internal training as the key reason for a continued skills shortage in 2020, and around two thirds (62%) view training of existing staff as key to reducing the gap by 2020, suggesting talent development is a key focus amongst industry leaders.

The research also revealed:
•Just a quarter see poor or not enough science, technology, engineering and maths education as a reason for the existence of a gap in 2020
•Training is seen as a means to tackle recruitment challenges – 46% of channel leaders view training and development programmes as key to attracting new talent in 2020

Released as part of a landmark industry report, the study also looked at the skills required by the channel in 2020, and whether these will change between now and then. Particularly interesting was the result that the vast majority (78%) believe that despite the continued rise of cloud and virtualisation technology, hiring and training more on-premise and data-centre technical skills will help to ease the skills gap by 2020.

Lynn commented: “the results of our research highlight a clear need for our industry to focus on upskilling existing staff. We’re already seeing a growth in important apprenticeship schemes and building up the next generation of talent, but the challenge between now and 2020 is the extent to which we can improve existing skillsets to meet customer challenges. The survey highlighted the need to invest in internal skills training and The Channel must take note.”

The research commissioned by Agilitas and carried out by OnePoll surveyed 100 senior level executives at IT Resellers, Managed Service Providers and Independent IT Providers, and marks the first in a series of quarterly investigations into the future of the channel.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine