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Report: Cybersecurity and cloud make up the two largest skill gaps in tech

Software DevelopmentReport: Cybersecurity and cloud make up the two largest skill gaps in tech


Over half of organizations feel that their cybersecurity and cloud skills are lacking, according to the 2024 Technical Skills Report by Pluralsight, a company that provides upskilling resources. For this year’s report, the company surveyed 1,400 executives and IT professionals.

Sixty-five percent of the respondents said that their company was lacking cybersecurity skills and 52% said they were lacking cloud skills. Software development followed closely behind with 40% saying their organizations had a skills gap in that area.

The consequences of having a skills gap include increased workloads (experiences by 96% of respondents) and challenges adopting new technology (57%), maintaining legacy systems (53%), keeping business opportunities (44%), and retaining clients (33%). 

Sixty-three percent say that cybersecurity skills will be important to learn in the next year, 47% said cloud, and 45% said software development.

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Interestingly, despite all the hype around AI, Pluralsight found that this was the lowest priority area for companies to invest in. When compared to last year, there was only an 11% increase in the number of respondents interested in growing their AI skills. 

“While we know AI/ML skills are increasingly critical, we’ve also found that organizations have other, more immediate upskilling priorities,” said Aaron Rosenmund, senior director of security and GenAI skills at Pluralsight. “Considering that the average cost of a data breach is $4.45 million and that successful cyber-attacks are continuing to exponentially increase year-over-year, it becomes clear why cybersecurity skills are top of mind for organizations.”

However, overall the outlook for closing skill gaps has been positive. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said that their IT skills gaps are smaller than they were last year. For those that haven’t made improvements, the main reasons have been loss of staff or challenges with new technologies. 

When it comes to closing skills gaps, Pluralsight says that upskilling existing employees was more effective than hiring new ones.

Sixty-six percent of the survey respondents said that hiring a new employee takes the same amount of time or longer as upskilling existing employees. According to Pluralsight, it takes an average of 10 weeks to hire a new employee. 

When comparing the costs between the two, companies in the U.S. spend $23,450 to hire a new employee and $15,231 to upskill an existing one. Currently, companies spend an average of $5,000 on upskilling each employee, which indicates room to do more. 

“Hiring is typically only a stop-gap solution, not a long-term investment in your organization’s growth,” the company wrote in the report. “It’s like trying to fix a burst pipe with duct tape. You can plug the gap and stop the rush of water for a bit, but you won’t fix the root cause of the problem. Upskilling, on the other hand, acts as a lasting seal. It lets you develop the exact skills and proficiencies you need in the moment while giving employees continual development opportunities.”

 

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