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Half of IT employers are upskilling workers to address staffing challenges

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About 78% of IT organizations are reporting difficulty finding talent with the right skills, and half are now training and upskilling their current workforce to address their challenges, according to a June 8 report from Experis, an IT professional resourcing firm and part of ManpowerGroup.

Companies are also adopting or planning to adopt the use of emerging technologies in their recruiting processes, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

“The integration of AI, machine learning, VR/AR, and other emerging technologies is rapidly transforming industries and driving the need for an adaptable workforce,” Ger Doyle, senior vice president for Experis, said in a statement.

“We are seeing companies embrace these new technologies, with many seeking to hire or upskill existing talent to take advantage of potential productivity gains,” Doyle said. “Smart employers know that embracing digitization and nurturing human talent will enhance their readiness to succeed in this era of rapid technological advancement.”

These new technologies have also shifted the hiring priorities for IT employers, Experis found. The top five staffing priorities are cybersecurity, technical support, customer or user experience, database management and customer relationship management systems.

In response, employers said they are training and upskilling their current workers, hiring new workers with the required skills, investing more in automation, reskilling workers and transitioning them into IT roles, and hiring short-term staff such as freelancers and contract workers to fill skills gaps.

About 58% of employers said they believe AI and VR will create jobs rather than eliminate workers, Experis reported. More than a third plan to use tools such as AI and VR in recruitment and retention.

“So far, the signs are no different from what we have seen with earlier versions of AI or tech innovation. Generative AI can be expected to mostly automate tasks and skills within jobs rather than entire jobs,” Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, chief innovation officer for ManpowerGroup, said in the statement.

“This isn’t about us versus AI or humans versus machines,” he said. “Instead, it’s about how we can leverage these tools to augment and upgrade our uniquely human skills and lead a more human-centric life.”

In fact, despite a push to cut costs, most IT team leaders plan to reinvest in upskilling this year, according to a recent report. Learning and development opportunities are being touted as a major way to develop existing talent and create a competitive edge.

In the high-priority areas — such as cybersecurity, cloud and machine learning — credentials and certifications are becoming increasingly important, paving the way for nondegree options to take center stage.

Digital upskilling and nondegree programs may boost diversity, equity and inclusion efforts as well, according to a recent report, opening access to low-income workers, people with disabilities, talent in rural areas, communities of color and immigrant and refugee populations.

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