Current staff development strategies are not good enough to solve the IT leadership skills gap, according to a global study by Deloitte.The consultancy’s survey of 306 blue-chip organisations worldwide suggests the most critical business need is for IT leaders, project and risk managers and IT architects staff who can operate across technical and functional areas.The vast majority of IT departments are set to expand over the next five years, with 47 per cent of those polled expecting a five percent annual workforce growth over that period.But existing skills development programmes such as perfomance management, job redesign and succession planning are insufficient to equip employees to respond to new business imperatives.Though some development initiatives would typically involve a combination of IT and human resources effort, IT directors and their management teams will need to play lead roles by giving more attention to areas such as multi-generation workforce strategies, job rotation, virtual management skills and accelerated development, says the Deloitte report.“To attract, develop and retain top IT talent, businesses must find ways to differentiate themselves,” it says.“Organisations will also need to refine their global sourcing strategies and find innovative ways to manage a diverse, global workforce that is increasingly comprised of non-traditional resources, including contractors, outsourcing vendors, retirees and offshore staff.”The majority of respondents said IT talent shortages have a big effect on business strategy and admit that intense streamlining and outsourcing/offshoring have left their IT organisations “hollowed out”.The main consequences of such developments include mid- to junior-level staff with nobody to manage and fewer opportunities to progress into management roles. “No wonder many potential IT leaders get frustrated and leave after a few years,” says the report.But the current generation of IT leaders is realising the scale of the challenge they face. More than half (55.9 per cent) of UK IT leaders polled intend to focus more on succession planning, while the same amount will look into leadership development and 47.1 per cent will work on enhancing communication and change management.“Ultimately, through the people we are encouraging to develop skills, we want the leaders of tomorrow,” said one chief technology officer interviewed by Deloitte.
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