eCommerceNews UK - Technology news for digital commerce decision-makers
Story image
UK IT leaders report dire skills gap in AI, reveals Telehouse study
Thu, 30th Nov 2023

Research conducted by data centre service provider Telehouse indicates a significant skills gap in artificial intelligence (AI) among UK IT decision-makers. According to the survey, nearly a third (33%) of respondents have identified a substantial inadequacy in AI expertise within their teams.

Although the UK has ambitious plans to be at the forefront of AI adoption, the research, which took into account the views of 250 UK IT decision-makers, suggests the nation's path to this goal is still marked with obstacles.

It raises red flags over the persistent shortage of requisite skills and reveals additional challenges, like a lack of diversity within IT teams and declining interest in the digital infrastructure sector as a career.

Telehouse's research found that almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents perceived a lack of diversity within their IT teams, with 27% considering the deficit to be significant. Furthermore, over half (51%) believe there is diminished interest in the digital infrastructure sector as a career option.

The findings, published in a report titled 'Ensuring the right skills and people exist in digital infrastructure', underscore the challenges businesses are grappling with, such as the evolution of innovations like AI and the ongoing skills shortage within the IT industry.

Distribution of expertise further compounds these challenges. One in three (33%) respondents predict AI and data analytics to be their most substantial infrastructure challenge in the coming decade. Although a slight improvement of 4% since 2020 has been witnessed in closing the AI skills gap, significant gaps persist in other areas like cloud technologies (20%) and security (14%).

To address this, businesses are resorting to proactive measures which include initiating internal training (35%) and seeking external training solutions (34%). A considerable 35% are employing external recruitment specialists and 29% are investing in advanced tools to increase the productivity of understaffed teams.

The issue of diversity and inclusion is being tackled with initiatives such as educational programmes (45%) and the implementation of inclusive workplace policies (43%). The current trend of 'great resignation' and 'quiet quitting' further emphasises the need for unique strategies to both attract and retain top talents.

Leading responses to this issue include the provision of flexible working arrangements (38%), opportunities for career progression (37%), and maintaining a work-life balance (35%). In some instances (28%), the need to raise salary offers to attract suitable candidates has been expressed.

HR Director of Telehouse Europe, Judy Gosnell, highlighted the importance of addressing these challenges, stating, "The digital infrastructure industry and policy-makers must form a united front to address the glaring diversity gaps in IT and entice young job seekers into technology roles."

"There needs to be a united focus on developing transferable skills to remedy the shortage and encourage emerging technologies from the outset, otherwise innovation in areas such as AI will stall."