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Digital transformation and modernization initiatives have gained significant traction in recent years, leading to the rapid adoption of cloud computing, analytics driven by artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT) and more. Unfortunately, however, business leaders struggle to staff their teams with skilled professionals who can maximize the potential of modern computing practices.
According to Gartner research, 75 percent of organizations will experience visible business disruptions due to technology skills gaps by 2020, which is a substantial increase from less than 20 percent in 2016 .
The ability to incorporate these transformational technologies means big wins for businesses, including feature expansion, improved customer experiences, data-driven decision-making and enhanced business process support. However, this success is dependent on closing the skills gap so that your employees can get the job done.
Mind the Gap
As the skills gap widens in nearly every sector, and employers struggle to fill open positions with qualified candidates, current employees are expected to rise to the demands of using new technology. The resulting internal gap can lead to steep costs and risks, including delayed deployments, employee stress, low morale and loss of revenue .
Leaders in IT have identified several factors as to why the gap exists, including:
- The inability to recruit employees with the right skills
- The rate of technology advancement exceeding current skills-development programs 
- Companies not investing enough in IT training to develop the skills that are needed 
Often, leaders believe hiring is the best solution for securing talent — and hiring is very important, don’t get us wrong — but in reality, training for current employees can have a more significant impact on closing the skills gap. The challenge is in shifting the company perception around training to build a successful and productive workforce.
Obstacles in Hiring Talent for Leading IT Skills
In the U.S., unemployment is at a record low, which makes it challenging to find IT professionals who have the exact skills you need to close your knowledge gaps. IT leaders struggle to find talent who can adeptly handle their most complex initiatives, including advanced cybersecurity, cloud computing and DevOps. According to CareerBuilder data, it takes an average of 109 days to find a qualified candidate for a specialized IT role like AI, compared to 41 days for standard positions. Businesses also spend nearly 2.5 months recruiting and hiring for critical cybersecurity roles.
While hiring is a necessity, and turnover is a reality of doing business, your best opportunity for creating a workforce for your IT future is through training and certification. Your employees represent a significant foundation of internal corporate knowledge and loyalty to your company. With the right training, you can build the workforce you need for even your most ambitious technology initiatives.
IT Training is Your Biggest Opportunity
IT organizations that offer employees a broad range of training enable rapid technology adoption and business evolution . Yet training is often seen as a “nice-to-have” or “just-in-time” activity by business leaders. They tend to train their staff after new technology is brought in, or they focus training on current initiatives, and only for a handful of their staff members.
The percentage of organizations offering comprehensive, formal training programs has declined over the last year. The 2018 Training Industry Report showed that the total 2018 U.S. training expenditures — including payroll and spending on external products and services — declined 6.4 percent to $87.6 billion . In industries where schedules are tight and budgets are even tighter, product releases and business-critical daily tasks often take top priority, keeping workers in their desks and out of the classroom. However, if you compare training an employee for a few days out of the office versus the identified costs of having under-skilled workers, the resulting increase in productivity and efficiency that training provides more than makes up the difference.
Close the Skills Gap for Good
Creating a formal training program that upskills your entire organization may seem daunting, and with so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to know where to start. By working with a comprehensive training vendor like ExitCertified, you can develop a program that allows you to offer your staff vendor-certified, expert training at every level.
With over 9,500 courses to choose from, as well as a variety of in-person and online training delivery modalities, ExitCertified helps organizations like yours find training that fits employees’ needs and schedules, and allows business leaders to continually train their workforce and stay ahead of the skills gap.
Need help developing your organization’s training program?
ExitCertified delivers vendor-approved training to IT professionals around the world. Get the consistency of single-source training with flexible programs that fit your budget.
 CIO Magazine, “IT Skills Gap Facts vs Fictions,” https://www.cio.com/article/3309419/it-skills-gap-facts-vs-fictions.html
 CareerBuilder, “The Skills Gap is Costing Companies Nearly 1 Million Annually, According to a New CareerBuilder Survey,”, http://press.careerbuilder.com/2017-04-13-The-Skills-Gap-is-Costing-Companies-Nearly-1-Million-Annually-According-to-New-CareerBuilder-Survey
 Tech Republic, “How to Close the Tech Skills Gap,”, https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-close-the-tech-skills-gap/
 IDC, “Worldwide and U.S. IT Education and Training Services Forecast Update, 2018–2022,”, IDC #US44510818.
 Training Magazine, “2018 Training Industry Report,”, https://trainingmag.com/trgmag-article/2018-training-industry-report/