IT hiring strong in ME, but gaps still a problem
CompTIA study shows planned hiring outstrips global average, but lack of trained staff causing issues
Two thirds of organisations in the Middle East are planning on hiring IT staff this year, but skills shortages are still a major issue, according to industry association CompTIA.
The association surveyed 1,250 business and IT executives worldwide, including in the UAE, Oman and Saudi Arabia. While the proportion of companies in the region that are looking to hire (62% of respondents) is higher than global average of 39%, around 85% say that a lack of skilled IT professionals is a problem, with one third describing the problem as "extensive".
The CompTIA International Technology Adoption & Workforce Issues study, showed that respondents believe that new hires are needed to address issues including low staff productivity (52%), poor customer service and engagement (36%), and speed to market of new products and services (34%). Lack of skills is also hindering the adoption of technologies such as cloud and mobility, according to 40% of respondents; while organisations also cite skills gaps as the primary cause of human errors which have implications for security.
"In many cases skills gaps are a natural feature of the IT industry because of the high speed of innovation, but in fast-growing markets such as the Middle East this issues is more prominent" said John McGlinchey, vice president, Europe and Middle East, CompTIA.
"Our research shows that regional business leaders appreciate the vital role of IT in business success and are ready to invest, but are often unable to identify the right quality and quantity of suitable candidates. Industry-led certifications, such as those provided by CompTIA, offer a common foundation for assessing skill sets across teams and candidates, and also ensure that capabilities built through training are aligned with demand in the market."
The areas of expertise that are most in demand by organisations include network/infrastructure experience (68%); helpdesk and IT support (58%); office IT equipment maintenance (53%) and storage/data back up capabilities (51%).
Faced with a gap in skilled candidates, regional executives are increasingly looking for formal training and accreditation to identify potential IT recruits; in fact 81% of those surveyed expect to see the value of industry certification rising over the next two years. Once in employment, staff that have gained IT certification are generally perceived to perform at a higher level than non-certified staff by 78% of executives, and considered more valuable to the organization. The benefits of an individual's foundation of industry knowledge gained through certification helps the whole team and regional investment in IT skills education is high, with 94% of IT staff in the region having engaged in some form of IT training in the last 12 months.