US federal agencies facing ICT skills shortages

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 14 January, 2020

US federal agencies facing ICT skills shortages

US federal government agencies are facing an acute ICT skills shortage that in many cases threatens their ability to fulfil their roles, new research indicates.

A survey of federal IT leaders conducted by tech media brands WorkScoop and FedScoop found that around 70% of government IT leaders view ongoing IT skills gaps as having a medium to high impact on the ability to deliver on their agency missions.

The largest gaps are in areas including cloud technologies, AI, data analytics and enterprise engineering, while candidates with collaborative interpersonal skills and broader interdisciplinary backgrounds are also in high demand.

Agencies are pursuing a number of methods to attempt to bridge IT skills gaps, such as upskilling (51%) or reskilling (44%) existing staff, outsourcing work to contractors (53%) and partnering with vendors (42%) to access the talent they need.

IT leaders report that the biggest constraints to acquiring new skills for their agencies are the lack of budget resources (53%), as well as the time to take training courses (50%).

According to the report prepared from the research, agencies are expected to continue to need to grapple with issues including competition from the private sector for the necessary talent, internal resource constraints and challenges involved in keeping up with the changing nature of technology.

To address these demands and solve their skills shortages, the report recommends that agencies take steps including giving current employees time to upgrade their skills, and to work to align their job titles and requirements with descriptions that will attract the younger generation of IT specialists.

Agencies should also consider evaluating the hidden costs and lost savings arising from IT talent shortages, the report adds.

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