Digital Transformation and Talent Shortages November 2017
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As information technology (IT) becomes the backbone of virtually all corporate operations and advanced applications create competitive advantages, demand for IT experts outstrips availability. A survey commissioned by application-performance-management-software provider Dynatrace (Waltham, Massachusetts) revealed that the increasing complexity of corporate IT environments is making executing IT strategies difficult for companies. Of more than 1,200 surveyed corporate IT workers, 48% said that digital-tool problems were hampering the success of their IT strategies, and 75% had minimal confidence that they could remedy these problems. Because of the use of artificial intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and various digital tools, corporate IT workers must devote multiple hours per day to addressing performance issues, which has a negative effect on innovation efforts, productivity, and profit.
In particular, the increasing use of AI will create demand for AI experts, but supply shortages are already emerging. The demand for AI scientists has become so severe that even universities such as Stanford University (Stanford, California) are struggling to retain AI and machine-learning professors. Very often, high-paying, challenging, and intellectually rewarding private-sector jobs draw such professors away from academia. Jennifer Chayes, managing director of Microsoft's (Redmond, Washington) Microsoft Research New England and Microsoft Research New York City, frequently poaches AI professors and explains that "Stanford can't begin to pay them enough." Many companies are providing employees and interns with AI training. Indeed, Dr. Chayes claims that Microsoft has roughly 1,500 AI interns every year. However, this effort fails to enable the basic research necessary for the development of new applications.
Other issues might put pressure on technology companies' ability to attract talent. A recent survey by corporate-compensation-information provider Comparably (Santa Monica, California) found notable dissatisfaction among technology workers. For example, the survey asked respondents what their company's CEO most needs to improve, and the top three answers were vision and strategy, hiring standards, and people skills.