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Digital Talent Demand Exceeds Supply in Asia-Pac

Even the savviest CEO's desire for a digital transformation advantage has to face the global market reality -- there simply isn't enough skilled and experienced talent available to meet demand.

According to the latest market study by IDC, around 60-80 percent of Asia-Pacific (AP) organizations find it "difficult" or "extremely difficult" to fill many IT roles -- including cybersecurity, software development, and data insight professionals.

Major consequences of the skills shortage are increased workload on remaining digital business and IT employees, increased security risks, and loss of "hard-to-replace" critical transformation knowledge.

Digital Business Talent Market Development

Although big tech companies' layoffs are making headlines, they are not representative of the overall global marketplace. Ongoing difficulty to fill key practitioner vacancies is still among the top issues faced by leaders across industries.

"Skills are difficult to find and take a long time to replace. 53 percent of organizations in AP are taking 3-4 months longer compared to a year ago to fill technology roles," said Dr. Lily Phan, research director at IDC.

As the skill shortage affects more organizations, Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) must prioritize upscaling digital skills, and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) must apply automation to streamline IT processes.

Moreover, 55 percent of organizations in AP reported greater numbers of employees quitting last year, contributing to the shortage which has caused 37 percent of organizations to delay business technology initiatives, and 36 percent to change the direction of initiatives.

Enterprise automation can be a solution for some organizations in labor-dependent industries such as education, manufacturing, government services, healthcare services, and the hospitality sector.

Automation can accelerate repetitive tasks and allow employees to focus on customized requests from clients. Low-code or no-code platforms can support non-IT employees (e.g. Business Technologists) to automate their tasks and significantly improve productivity.

Also, there are numerous opportunities for solution providers to help organizations with large Frontline workforces -- such as healthcare, manufacturing, retail, hospitality, government, and education.

These business sectors are severely impacted by the digital talent shortage and could benefit greatly when applying automation solutions to reduce workloads and improve workflow productivity.

Furthermore, IDC's research reveals that 36 percent of Asia-Pacific enterprise leaders believe that Remote and Hybrid Work models will be an embedded part of work practices going forward.

Leaders must plan for employee experience improvement across work environments, plus reimagine the digital workspace for a distributed workforce, and ensure security on any device, or in any location.

Outlook for Digital Workplace Transformation

"Hybrid Work has emerged as the dominant enterprise operational model over the last few years, bringing with it new and elevated expectations from digital workplace environments," said Pushkaraksh Shanbhag, associate research director at IDC Asia-Pacific.

That said, I believe we're entering a new phase of the evolutionary process. The most forward-looking organization recognizes that return-to-office mandates merely worsen the digital talent shortage. Skilled and experienced practitioners will not tolerate a lack of flexibility in their work environment.

Therefore, organizations that embrace a distributed workforce model have gained a significant strategic advantage over the peer group employers stuck in a bygone era of legacy employment practices.

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