72% IT Leaders in Red Hat UK Survey Urge Urgent Action on AI Skills Gap

Red Hat

One of the world’s leading suppliers of open source technology solutions, Red Hat, has released new data that highlights the main issues confronting IT executives in terms of innovation, skills, and technological advancement. In general, the respondents identify the critical gaps that need to be filled immediately as strategic thinking and business abilities (73%) and artificial intelligence (AI) skills (72%).

“The survey results reflect what we’re seeing with customers – that deploying the right technology platforms is the beginning of the journey to being more efficient and innovative. Organizations that take advantage of continuous deep collaboration with technology partners plugged into the broader business goals are better able to drive ongoing value from their platforms,” said Joanna Hodgson, Country Manager UK at Red Hat. “At Red Hat we train and coach teams in adopting better processes and ways of working to maximize returns from the latest technologies. As the survey shows, IT teams are ramping up their use of enterprise open source to take advantage of community innovation in balance with stability, security and support from a trusted provider like Red Hat. Where the C-suite takes an active role in understanding the potential open source has to transform the business, it is best placed to innovate faster, improve the bottom line and navigate unpredictable futures.”

The research follows Red Hat’s recent Thriving through change with enterprise-wide IT automation report, which identified that the largest portion (27%) of UK IT leaders surveyed think a lack of talent is the biggest challenge for their businesses today.

Other skills deficits that have been found include the following:

  • Proficiency in cybersecurity (69%)
  • Agile delivery and the use of techniques like automation, GitOps, and CI/CD pipelines (69%)
  • Humans and their abilities (69%)

Top Competencies Issues Faced by IT Executives

When asked to identify the main causes of the skills deficit in IT teams, the most common responses were that the heavy workload made it difficult for employees to find the time to advance their careers (44%), and the lack of funding for training, hiring, or upskilling (44%). These were closely followed by:

  • Silos of work that hinder possibilities for cross-team learning (35%)
  • The incapacity to stay up with the complicated and quickly evolving software ecosystem (34%)

Maintaining a competitive edge in the rapidly evolving fields of cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) would require having IT platforms that are scalable, adaptable, and enable citizens, as well as the knowledge to extract the most economic value from them. A third of those polled (33%) said their organization does have the tools in place to meet business goals, but lacks the skill sets necessary to fully use the platforms. Conversely, over half (46%) of those surveyed said they need new systems in order to better meet the demands of their company.

Threats to Innovation

When asked what the organization’s current impediments to innovation were, 36% of IT managers cited the sluggish adoption of the newest procedures and productive methods of working, and 35% mentioned the lack of funding for upskilling and effective training.

The following were noted as additional obstacles to innovation:

  • Difficulty in attracting and retaining the necessary personnel (30%)
  • Not having access to the appropriate technological platforms to accelerate the delivery of software (30%)
  • Insufficient use of automation to expedite work and free up time (27%)
  • A 25% staff shortfall to meet the rising demand

The capacity to attract and retain the appropriate personnel in the next year ranked first (33%), when asked what would be on their wish list to support their team and organization in fostering more and better innovation. Having a sufficient budget for efficient training and upskilling (30%) came in second. A quarter of the participants are in search of appropriate technological platforms that can expedite the supply of software (25%) and quantify the influence of innovation on corporate profitability, team contentment, and performance (24%).

Filling up Talent Shortages with Technological Investment

To expand their company and concentrate on results, respondents were asked where they intended to devote their next round of IT expenditures in 2024. The topic of IT modernization to adopt new technologies like artificial intelligence, the cloud, and containers received the most responses (30%).

This is greatly aided by the use of enterprise open source software, with almost half of respondents (47%) stating that utilizing enterprise open source software can help their company take advantage of cutting-edge technologies like edge computing, AI, and containers.

Methodology

Joanna Hodgson, Country Manager UK at Red Hat
“The survey results reflect what we’re seeing with customers – that deploying the right technology platforms is the beginning of the journey to being more efficient and innovative,” said Joanna Hodgson, Country Manager UK at Red Hat.

In businesses with 500 or more workers, 300+ UK IT managers (as well as those with similar job titles) were polled by Censuswide.

Red Hat provided funding for the study. The information was gathered from 10.10.2023 to 16.10.2023. Censuswide adheres to the MRS code of conduct, which is founded on the ESOMAR principles, and employs members of the Market Research Society.

“AI skills are highly sought after, as we see in this research and in our everyday conversations with partners and customers. This is about more than technical and coding ability, where generative AI can certainly help,” said Erica Langhi, Senior Solution Architect, EMEA, Red Hat. Organizations need to build expertise in areas like data bias, ethics of AI and model explicability, and make sure they have the right collaboration platform in place – such as Red Hat OpenShift AI – so that diversely experienced teams can connect with each other across the business to understand the wide-reaching potential and impact of AI creations. This range of expertise is vital to achieve transparency and accountability for outcomes to ensure they are as fair as possible and deliver against business goals. Companies that actively engage in the open source community to share best practices and collaborate on ethical AI standards can gain a competitive edge in this evolving landscape.”