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Amid economic uncertainty and downturn, organizations are leaning on their technologists to continue to innovate and drive business value. 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, Chief Product Officer 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”
A Force Multiplier: Upskilling Amid Economic Uncertainty
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.
Sixty seven percent 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 nearly half (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. More than half (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.
Technology Skills Gaps in 2023
Amid these workforce challenges, the 2023 State of Upskilling 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:
•Seventeen percent of technologists are completely confident in their cybersecurity skills while 21% are not confident at all.
•Twenty five percent of technologists are completely confident in their data skills while 8% are not confident at all.
•Twenty one percent 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. For more insights, download the full 2023 State of Upskilling Report.