Amid economic uncertainty and downturn, organizations are leaning on their technologists to continue to innovate and drive business value, according to Pluralsight.
Though 65% of tech team leaders have been asked to cut costs, 72% still plan to increase their investment in tech skill development in 2023. And because upskilling existing talent is more cost-effective than hiring new employees, 97% of learning and development and HR directors say they are prioritizing internal talent over hiring for open positions.
“This year’s research findings underscore the importance of maximizing employee potential and optimizing learning investments to drive business ROI,” said Gary Eimerman, CPO at Pluralsight. “Organizations and individuals alike are being asked to do more with less in the face of reduced workforces and larger economic pressures. For future-focused companies, an emphasis on continuous upskilling will help sharpen their competitive edge.”
Tech skills development
The past several months have brought an onslaught of layoffs and hiring freezes across industries—especially tech. As 65% of tech executives are being asked to look for cost efficiencies in response to economic uncertainty, the consequences have a ripple effect.
67% of tech managers reported that workforce reductions in their organization across software, IT, and data have resulted in their teams taking on more responsibility, while 47% of technologists agree they have had to perform additional responsibilities outside of their primary job function.
Investing in tech skills development helps equip overwhelmed employees with the tools needed to conquer these new and unfamiliar responsibilities. 52% of technologists said it’s important to learn new tech skills in times of economic turbulence, and as day-to-day responsibilities evolve and expand in response to layoffs, upskilling becomes a critical aspect of not just individual success, but organizational success.
Prioritizing cybersecurity, data science, and cloud
Amid these workforce challenges, the report illuminates a decrease in tech skills confidence across respondents. Last year’s report found that 80% of technologists were confident they had the skills to master their current job. This year, the majority of technologists don’t feel that same level of confidence across major tech skill areas.
The top three skills technologists and technology managers are prioritizing to drive business value are cybersecurity, data science, and cloud. According to the report:
- 17% of technologists are completely confident in their cybersecurity skills while 21% are not confident at all.
- 25% of technologists are completely confident in their data skills while 8% are not confident at all.
- 21% of technologists are completely confident in their cloud skills while 17% are not confident at all.
Lack of time and budget have remained the biggest barriers to upskilling over the past two years. And for technologists who secure the time or budget to prioritize upskilling, 30% don’t know where to focus their skills development, while 25% aren’t sure which resources to leverage.
With 85% of organizations actively engaged in, or planning to begin, a digital transformation project in 2023, technologists need guided learning mapped to key business outcomes.