IT security tops the list of the skills that IT decision-makers say they want their team members to have, according to a new report by Global Knowledge, based on input from more than 10,000 IT and business professionals in North America.
Other in-demand skills include cloud computing, IT architecture, and network and systems engineering and operations. One in three IT decision-makers reported having difficulty finding skilled talent to fill cybersecurity positions, while one in five reported difficulty filling cloud-related roles.
Average salaries for IT professionals are on the rise
Though combined average salaries for IT professionals and decision-makers fell by two percentage points—from $88,835 to $86,545—average salaries increased for each group, from $75,889 to $76,865 for IT staff and from $109,165 to $111,167 for IT decision-makers.
The lower total average is due to a change in the distribution of these two groups within the response pool. Staff-level IT respondents increased from 63 percent in 2015 to 72 percent in 2016. Conversely, the percentage of respondents who are IT decision-makers dropped from 37 in 2015 to 28 in 2016.
Non-IT salaries took a plunge this year, averaging $95,019 after last year’s $109,165 and bringing figures back in line with those from 2014. A nine percent increase in the number of entry-level—and therefore lower-paid—respondents is at least partly to blame for that decline.
Skills gaps increase stress on employees
Sixty-two percent of IT decision-makers said their teams currently have measurable skills gaps or will likely have them within the next two years, and 70 percent said the gaps create increased stress on existing employees.
Other impacts include difficulty meeting quality objectives, delayed software and hardware deployments, and increased operating costs.
Building new skills is the top driver for professional development
Three-fourths of this year’s IT respondents said they use professional development to build new skills, and half said preparing for a career certification or specialist exam is a top motivator. More than 45 percent of those who did not train in the previous year blamed a lack of funds. IT decision-makers who responded said the lack of training funds is also one of the driving reasons behind skills gaps in IT departments.