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Why Initial and Ongoing Training are Solutions for IT Skills Gaps

Dec. 07, 2018
Ryan Day

85% of IT professionals trained in the past year while only 34% of IT decision-makers approved training.

Those numbers don’t add up.

According to the Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report, a lack of manager support isn’t preventing IT staff from seeking training. But why the disconnect between staff and decision-makers?

Managers mostly recognize the merits of trained and certified employees—93% believe certification provides an added value to the organization—but available training budgets are shrinking and too often funds aren’t allocated for proper skill development. Or, even worse, the budget is there but training isn’t a top priority. Over 40% of IT decision-makers who have a training allotment in their budget didn’t approve training in the past year. There is no good reason to leave that many skill-building opportunities on the table.

As organizations struggle to balance budgets and prioritize training, skills gaps are growing—81% of North American decision-makers report existing skills gaps. And the impacts are potentially disastrous:

  • Increased stress on employees
  • Delays in product development and deployment
  • Difficulty meeting objectives
  • Declining customer satisfaction
  • Loss of revenue/increase in operating costs

With so much on the line, initial and ongoing training is instrumental to filling skills gaps and avoiding the above outcomes. An analysis of the IT education and certification services market by the International Data Corporation (IDC) determined specifically how and when training affects organizational success.


Initial training is tied to project success

According to IDC, the skills of a project team directly impact the likelihood of project success. Thus, the percentage of a project budget dedicated to training is important.

For example, if 1% of a project’s budget is allocated to training, the project success rate is less than 10%. But if you bump the training spend to 6%, you’ve increased your chance of project success to 80%.1

Technology no longer provides the main competitive advantage for organizations. The people tasked to use that technology are the differentiators. Success is achieved when you develop and train those people to lead the way forward.

Source: IDC, Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide and U.S. IT Education and Certification Services, 2018, Doc #US42761218, Sep 2018


Ongoing training is tied to organizational success

Training is not meant to be a one-time activity. Continuous skills development is crucial to maintain organizational success.

According to IDC, skills and performance degrade over time without training. Even if a team is 100% upskilled, it will lose 60% of its capabilities in three years and 75% of its capabilities in six years with no additional professional development.1

Reasons for this degradation include rapid technology changes, process changes, job promotions and the need for replacement skills.

In IT, skill-building should be ongoing. You have to keep running to maintain pace with industry innovation. Continuous training is your ally in that constant battle.

Source: IDC, Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide and U.S. IT Education and Certification Services, 2018, Doc # US42761218, Sep 2018


Proper planning and formal training is the formula for success

Before starting a project, make sure all involved team members have the necessary skills. If there’s one gap, it could significantly derail progress or outcomes. To avoid delays, or even lost revenue, train the appropriate parties prior to kick-off. That means part of a project budget needs to include training. Make this part of your initial discussions and planning, and it will save you major headaches down the road.

If you’re an IT professional who recently completed a course, or a manager whose staff recently trained, don’t think you’re automatically in good shape for the foreseeable future. Skill sets decay over time unless cultivated and invested in. Remember, training is an investment, not an expense. Ongoing training needs to be a goal of every department. It’s the best way to ensure employees are in the best possible position to deliver on business objectives.


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1 IDC, Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide and U.S. IT Education and Certification Services, 2018, Doc #US42761218, Sep 2018