The Evolving IT Workforce: Why Investing in L&D is Critical for Success

Myles Brown | Tuesday, June 7, 2022

The Evolving IT Workforce: Why Investing in L&D is Critical for Success

Employees have long focused on salary and benefits when considering a job offer or remaining at a company. But these days, they’re looking for “new” benefits that play right into the hands of learning and development (L&D) professionals.

In addition to looking for health and dental insurance, a 401(k), and paid vacation and sick days, according to the 2022 Dice Tech Salary Report, technologists are also looking to receive remote schedule options (74%), flex schedule options (70%), training and education (68%). In the 2021 American Upskilling Study by Gallup, 66% of workers ages 24 and younger ranked learning new skills as one of their top three perks — only behind health insurance and disability benefits. However, according to the Dice report, only 43% of technologists say they’re receiving training and education benefits. 

This educational arena is where L&D teams can play a role in helping the company meet their digital transformation goals, as well as obtain and retain IT professionals. The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) report, The State of L&D in 2022, found that 76% of employees agree that they are more likely to stay with a company that offers continuous training.

To retain IT professionals, companies may need to give them more of what they want as they are in high demand. In an April 2022 press release, CompTIA announced that the unemployment rate for technology occupations fell to a near-record low as employer job postings for tech positions surpassed 400,000 in March. Tim Herbert, chief research officer at CompTIA, said, “For any employer relying on the old hiring playbook, it’s time to rethink approaches to recruiting and retention.”

Invest in L&D

One way to retain employees is to give them what they want: training. The American Staffing Association’s CEO Richard Wahlquist said in a January 2022 post, “Below Expectations: Employers Not Meeting Training Expectations of Workers, “Employees are looking to employers to provide the job training they need to elevate their careers.”  

If they don’t get the training they want, many employees will leave. A McKinsey study published in March 2022 states that of 600 employees who left the workforce without another job lined up, 30% of respondents left due to the lack of learning and development opportunities. Furthermore, 60% said a lack of L&D opportunities would cause them to leave again if they went back to the same company.

If employees leave, companies may end up having to provide training to attract new employees. In the 2021 American Upskilling Study by Gallup, 66% of workers ages 24 and younger ranked learning new skills as one of their top three perks — only behind health insurance and disability benefits.

For IT professionals, the most needed training revolves around the cloud computing environment. IT teams are faced with learning new strategies, applications and skillsets to support operations in the rapidly advancing cloud ecosystem, which ExitCertified has identified as CloudCentrix, a collection of practices and technologies used in cloud computing.

To reap the full benefits that the cloud offers, IT teams must be skilled in various aspects of the cloud. IT workforces need to be trained not only on new ways of developing software applications but also in adopting agile practices and collaboration — the key aspect of DevOps, which brings together Development and Operations teams.

 Transitioning to the cloud ecosystem requires continuous learning and development for programming, analytics, automation, security and cloud native tools. As companies transition from on-premises data centers to the cloud, L&D offers the opportunity to help employees learn and stay current with the skills needed to be successful in the new environment.

Cloud training doesn’t have to be limited to IT teams. Executives, business managers and tech salespeople can all benefit from basic training to better understand the various ways that cloud computing can serve their job roles and the business.

Value of Certifications

For some IT roles, certifications are a vital part of career development. A growing number of companies are paying for technology certifications as part of their retention and recruitment strategies. In the 2022 Dice Tech Salary Report, 89% of companies paid for technology certification and testing, up from 85% in 2019. That’s a sign that employers are increasingly willing to invest in education and certification to keep valuable IT staff engaged during a time when many skilled workers are seeking other opportunities. While there are many options for learning, some certifications for cloud computing are in high demand.

L&D programs like training and certification support advancement opportunities for employees, leading to higher salaries and increased job satisfaction. The company benefits by having IT staff prepared to handle ongoing demands for cloud computing, cybersecurity and other tech developments. HR costs such as recruiting and contracting are reduced through higher retention rates.

Ultimately, organizations benefit from responding to cultural shifts to retain and recruit high-performing employees who have more choices where they work.

ExitCertified’s trainers and subject matter experts can meet with you and your IT managers to help you identify the training your organization needs. 

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