6 in 7 APAC firms move to fill tech skills gap

Image courtesy of Equinix

Close to two-thirds (63%) of IT decision-makers view a shortage of personnel with IT skills as one of the main threats to their business, the Equinix 2022 Global Tech Trends Survey shows.

Conducted online between March 1 and 29, 2022, the study covered 2,900 IT decision-makers in diverse enterprises across 29 markets in the Americas, Asia-Pacific including Singapore, and EMEA. 

Respondents acknowledged the speed at which the tech industry is transforming has left companies struggling to find and retain people with the right skill sets to meet present and future challenges.

In response to skills shortages, many businesses are working hard to reskill human capital from other industries, with 69% of Asia-Pacific IT leaders saying they reskill workers from similar industries, while 44% are trying to bolster their workforce with recruits from unrelated sectors. 

With recent layoffs and furlough schemes driving workers to seek opportunities to level up their skills or careers, tech companies that offer training and development opportunities could be better positioned to attract talent.

The most common sources of reskilled workers are finance and insurance (39%), administration and business support (37%), manufacturing (30%), and those returning to work after a period of absence (30%). 

These reskilled workers tend to help businesses bridge the tech skills gaps by working as IT technicians (46%), cloud computing (40%) and data analysis roles (37%).

In the APAC region, there is a relatively prominent tech skill gap for cloud computing specialists (29%), followed by professionals with AI/machine learning aptitude (26%) and IT technicians (26%). 

A higher percentage of IT decision-makers in Asia-Pacific also identify a skills gap in data protection specialists (24%), compared to other regions. They anticipate that the biggest tech skills gap will lie in AI/machine learning (28%) in 2025, followed by cloud computing (26%) and AR/VR (24%). 

APAC IT leaders also consider candidates with the wrong skill sets applying for jobs (45%), the changing workforce expectations around ways of working (43%), and the pay and compensation packages for employees (41%) as the top three biggest skill challenges their businesses face.

Meanwhile, businesses are also seeking to recruit through higher education and apprenticeship programs. 

IT leaders in APAC claim their companies’ main ways of partnering with higher education institutions include running collaborative training programs with higher education institutions (48%), offering student internships (47%), taking part in college/university career fairs (42%) and outsourcing training programs to a higher education institution (41%). 

Brandi Galvin Morandi, chief legal and HR officer at Equinix, said there is an overall lack of understanding about the specific skills needed for certain roles, and potential candidates need better guidance around training, preparation, and job opportunities.

“We believe companies should foster a progressive talent development roadmap for tech roles that caters for both inexperienced and trained candidates,” said Galvin Morandi.

She said there were also opportunity in mentorship programs —helping potential candidates gain access to an established network for career guidance, while connecting companies with suitable candidates for a robust talent pool. 

“We also encourage higher education and vocational training institutions to work with tech teams within companies to ensure their curriculum imparts the right skills to students and prepares them for their desired careers,” Galvin Morandi added.